University at Buffalo: Student Government Bars Recognition to Student Groups Associated With Outside Organizations


State University Of New York - University at Buffalo

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Case Overview

On March 27, 2023 the University at Buffalo Student Association passed a New Club Recognition Policy that provides “no SA club may be a chapter of or otherwise part of any outside organization.” The policy exempts “clubs in the Academic, Engineering, or Sports Councils, and clubs whose sole purpose is to engage in inter-collegiate competition.” FIRE wrote UB on April 28 explaining how public university student governments may not discriminate against student groups—such as by denying them recognition —based on affiliation with outside organizations. After UB failed to respond, FIRE followed up on May 22 calling on the university to rescind this violation of students’ First Amendment right to freedom of association.

On June 1, 2023, Alliance Defending Freedom, representing a Young Americans for Freedom chapter and three students, filed a federal lawsuit against UB, calling on the university to rescind the policy.