On April 5, 2017, Wichita State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) denied official recognition to a prospective chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) based on its views, after nearly an hour of debate. The SGA began its meeting by questioning YAL president Maria Church on the group’s beliefs and political stances. When debating the resolution to recognize YAL, the only topic discussed was the expression of YAL’s national parent organization and the actions of YAL chapters at other universities. SGA senators repeatedly advocated against recognizing the chapter on the grounds that YAL (correctly) believes that the First Amendment protects “hate speech,” that other chapters have invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, and that the national YAL organization has not effectively denounced ”hate speech.” SGA members called YAL a “hate group” and claimed that its presence on campus would pose a threat to other students.
On April 7, FIRE wrote to Wichita State University demanding that the university reverse the SGA’s unconstitutional viewpoint-based decision. Following FIRE’s letter, WSU Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall petitioned the SGA’s judicial branch to overturn the SGA’s decision. On April 12, the Supreme Court of the Wichita State University Student Government held that the refusal to recognize YAL violated its members rights, and granted the group official recognition.
VICTORY: Wichita State student court recognizes libertarian group, reverses student government discrimination
April 14, 2017
WICHITA, Kan., April 14, 2017 — An embattled student group at Wichita State University is finally free to engage in on-campus activism as a registered student organization. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the Wichita State University Student Government overturned the Student Government Association’s unconstitutional decision to deny recognition to Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian student group, because of the group’s belief in First Amendment principles. The unanimous decision by the SGA’s judicial branch came less than a week after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to Wichita State President John Bardo to demand that he immediately reverse […]» Read More
Wichita State student government refuses to recognize libertarian student group because of First Amendment advocacy
April 7, 2017
Student senators quizzed student group leader about her group’s stance on “free speech zones,” “hate speech,” and “safe spaces” Student senator: “We’ve seen very dangerous statements being said in the name of free speech” The U.S. Supreme Court has held that viewpoint-based discrimination against a student group is unconstitutional WICHITA, Kan., April 7, 2017 — The law is clear: Colleges and universities cannot discriminate against student groups because of their viewpoints. However, that is exactly what the Wichita State University Student Government Association did when it refused to recognize Young Americans for Liberty, a prospective libertarian student group, because of […]» Read More