“The Rutgers student government is holding student group funding hostage until students commit to a particular ideology”
Rutgers Law School’s student government told student groups they could lose their funding if they refuse to promote Critical Race Theory.
This looks like a form of political extortion. How else could it be interpreted?
Free speech advocates at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have taken an interest in this case.
From the FIRE Newsdesk:
Rutgers Law student government to student groups: Promote critical race theory or lose funding
Need more funding for your club at Rutgers Law School? The Rutgers’ Student Bar Association can help — but only if you put on your critical race theory lenses first.
Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education called on Rutgers University, home of the largest public law school in the Northeast, to rescind an SBA requirement that forces student groups to host certain ideological events in order to be eligible for student fee funding.
“The Rutgers student government is holding student group funding hostage until students commit to a particular ideology,” said FIRE Program Officer Zach Greenberg. “Students shouldn’t be forced to choose between their club’s funding and their own convictions.”
The SBA of Rutgers’ Camden campus added a section to its constitution entitled “Student Organizations Fostering Diversity and Inclusion” on Nov. 20, mandating that any group that wishes to receive more than $250 in university funding must “plan at least one (1) event that addresses their chosen topics through the lens of Critical Race Theory, diversity and inclusion, or cultural competency.” Last fall, 19 of 22 student groups requested more than $250.
This puts student clubs in a bind: Should they request the funding they need, even though it would require planning an event — such as hosting a speaker, outing, or mixer — that may be at odds with or unrelated to the group’s own views?
This is the second time this month that Rutgers has been in the spotlight over racial issues.
Debate Erupts at N.J. Law School After White Student Quotes Racial Slur
The controversy over the use of a racial slur that has embroiled a public law school in New Jersey began with a student quoting from case law during a professor’s virtual office hours.
The first-year student at Rutgers Law School in Newark, who is white, repeated a line from a 1993 legal opinion, including the epithet, when discussing a case.
What followed has jolted the state institution, unleashing a polarizing debate over the constitutional right to free speech on campus and the power of a hateful word at a moment of intense national introspection over race, equity and systemic bias.
The tension comes at a time of heightened sensitivity to offensive words on college and law school campuses, where recent uses of slurs by professors during lessons have resulted in discipline and dismissal.
In early April, in response to the incident, a group of Black first-year students at Rutgers Law began circulating a petition calling for the creation of a policy on racial slurs and formal, public apologies from the student and the professor, Vera Bergelson.
“At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion,” states the petition, which has been signed by law school students and campus organizations across the country.
“We vehemently condemn the use of the N-word by the student and the acquiescence of its usage,” the petition says.
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