I have some good news! Last week, a pro-life student who attends California State University San Marcos was able to sue for discrimination, and he won. The case has implications for the entire CSU system, and every university in America. What’s more, the plaintiff in the case is a friend of the Wintery Knight blog! Let’s take a look at the details of the case and the judge’s decision.
Nathan told me that this story from The College Fix had the most details, and here it is:
Six months after a federal judge ruled that California State University officials could be held personally liable for funding policies that disfavor pro-life students, the largest four-year university system in the country has agreed to revise policies across its 23 campuses.
CSU’s board of trustees and the student government at CSU-San Marcos entered into a settlement agreement with the campus chapter of Students for Life and its former president Nathan Apodaca.
[…]The lawsuit challenged CSUSM funding policies that overwhelmingly favored two pro-choice campus organizations: the Gender Equity Center and LGBTQA Pride Center. They receive nearly $300,000 from Associated Students, Inc. each year with no strings attached.
Alliance Defending Freedom are the masters of defending religious liberty, and as they usually do, they made a video of their client explaining the facts of the case:
And here are the details of the decisions:
CSU is paying $240,000 in legal fees to the students’ lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom and $3,000 in damages to the club. The student government is giving Apodaca a $300 refund of his mandatory student fees, which he paid into a funding system that favored pro-choice viewpoints and disfavored his own pro-life views.
[…]Lorenz ordered CSUSM to revise the $500 application process to require “specific and detailed standards guiding decision making” on funding requests. They can no longer judge “the content of the speech” seeking funding by asking questions about its “purpose” and the “student benefit” of clubs’ events.
[…]The student government will adopt viewpoint-neutral standards for the allocation of mandatory student fees to any registered student organization “that involves viewpoint expression.” They must comply with the Supreme Court’s 2000 ruling in a similar case, known as Southworth.
The process must “not discriminate against any funding request based on the viewpoint to be expressed by the RSO or proposed event.” Funding applications that are “denied or reduced” must be accompanied by “the reasons” for the decision and a “right of prompt appeal” to an official or administrator.
All 23 campuses are getting a policy makeover as well. The agreement directs Chancellor White’s office to issue a “policy directive” across the system that imposes viewpoint-neutral criteria and procedures on student association funding requests for “student speech events.” It lays out five specific policies getting revisions.
This is the part that made me say “WOW!”:
In a major setback for the feminist and LGBTQ centers, the agreement bars them from funding via mandatory student fees, retroactive to July 1. The student government’s Board of Directors and Campus Activity Board will also not use those fees “unless and until” the student government adopts viewpoint-neutral criteria.
[…]In a statement on the settlement, the [ADF] emphasized that the two CSUSM centers received “57 times more than” the 100-plus recognized student organizations combined.
[…]Lorenz had rejected the defendants’ arguments that White and Haynes had a “reasonable belief” that forcing pro-life students to fund pro-choice speech, while denying them funding for their own speech, “was lawful.” The judge said “the development and state of the law” on compelled speech made clear to both officials that the funding mechanisms they oversaw were unconstitutional.
Things were really bad before Nathan and the ADF got the win.
I know that after he finishes his undergraduate degree, Nathan has plans to apply to law school in the future, so this may not be the last you hear about him. If you want to hear more from him before he argues for the reversal of Roe v Wade at the Supreme Court in 2035, then you can check out his articles at Human Defense Initiative.
My job right now with Nathan is to collaborate with him about what books to read, and annoy him about not doing a degree in computer science. (This is my job with all the young adults I advise) We exchange book suggestions in order to develop our worldviews. He also bullies me to watch movies in the theater like 1917 and to care about Star Wars, which I most certainly do not. I feel that if Nathan had one piece of advice to give my readers, he would say that you need to read books and watch movies about great people, which is what you can see on his Amazon wishlist. One of his favorite recent books was a book about Churchill, which he also bullied me into buying. It’s enormous, I will never finish it. He also likes to make fun of the way youth pastors offer young Christians pizza and movies instead of apologetics and bioethics training.
I think it’s important for old Christians to have a hand in what is going on in the minds of our Christian college students, and in their battles on campus. If you are looking for a good person to partner with, look up your local university’s pro-life club or Ratio Christi club. (I’m told by Carla that Nathan not only started a pro-life campus group, but also was part of a Ratio Christi campus group). At the local university, you’ll find lots of action going on that you can get involved with or financially support. Every older Christian should be in contact with a younger Christian who is making a difference. People think that older Christians need to care about the nonsense that young people are interested, like Tide pods and their weird music (I don’t know what their names are). That’s false. My job is to tell the young people about what I have learned about being a Christian. Not every young Christian will care about making a difference for the Kingdom of God, which is why you should focus on the ones who do.