Truman State University: Animal Rights Organization Denied Recognition Due to “Emotional” and “Reputational” Risks


Truman State University

Search all Cases

Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In November 2019, a committee composed of Truman State University staff and students refused to grant recognition to Animal Alliance, a student organization dedicated to promoting veganism and animal rights. The denial was predicated on the “emotional” risks that student club members might encounter from “hostile” responses from those opposed to their views, as well as the “reputational” risks to the university and students posed by affiliating with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. On December 10, 2019, FIRE wrote to the university’s administration to ask that it rescind its unconstitutional policies and recognize the Animal Alliance. Truman State responded in late December 2019 promising to revise its recognition policies to prevent viewpoint discrimination, and in January 2020 confirmed it has recognized Animal Alliance. In February 2020, Truman released new policies, which ensure new student organizations will be evaluated for recognition in a viewpoint-neutral fashion.