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Judge Rules Christian Student Group Can Sue University in Case of Speaker Bias

Judge Rules Christian Student Group Can Sue University in Case of Speaker Bias

“the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, and the University Program Council were named in the suit”

This group invited a speaker to campus and the school wanted them to have a second speaker to balance the viewpoints, something the students say is nver done to liberal groups.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports:

Lawsuit alleging discrimination in UNL student fee policies can move forward, judge says

A federal judge will allow most of a lawsuit brought by a Christian student organization against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to move forward.

Ratio Christi, which started at UNL in 2018 to promote the “historical, scientific, and philosophical reasons to believe Christianity is true,” sued the university after it was denied funding to bring a speaker to campus.

All eight members of the NU Board of Regents, as well as several administrators, the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, and the University Program Council were named in the suit.

According to the complaint, filed in October 2021 in U.S. District Court, Ratio Christi sought $1,500 to bring Robert Audi, a former UNL faculty member who now teaches at the University of Notre Dame, to campus in April.

The University Program Council, which distributes more than $270,000 in funds collected from student fees, denied the request, telling Ratio Christi the Event Fund could not be used to finance “political campaigns, or speakers of a political or ideological nature.”

Instead, the council recommended Ratio Christi add a speaker to promote a countering viewpoint, which the student group said it did not want to do.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge John Gerrard said while the denial of funding spurred the lawsuit, the claims in Ratio Christi’s complaint “sweep far more broadly, posing a broadside attack on the entire funding scheme” for speakers at UNL.

Along with imposing restrictions on student groups to not host speakers who deliver ideological or political perspectives, or also invite speakers to provide another viewpoint, Ratio Christi alleged UNL invited speakers who promote certain ideologies without hosting opposing views.

Gerrard said Ratio Christi’s argument that UNL’s mandatory student fee allocation system violated the constitutional rights of the group’s members was “not well developed and somewhat difficult to follow,” but that he would allow it to proceed because the university did not provide adequate reason to dismiss it.

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Comments

henrybowman | July 15, 2022 at 3:49 pm

“Ratio Christi alleged UNL invited speakers who promote certain ideologies without hosting opposing views.”

One would think it would be a rather trivial exercise for Ratio Christi to compile an actual, blackletter LIST of left-wing speakers “of a political or ideological nature” who were not asked to share their stage with a speaker from a conservative counterpoint. I, for one, would be interested to know of such a list.