NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
by Jacob Sullum
On Sunday night, Northern Illinois University's Student Association Senate denied recognition to the school's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which means it may not post flyers or meet on campus. The Senate already had denied activity-fee funding to SSDP, declaring it a "political" group, as opposed to a "social justice" or "advocacy" group. Sunday's meeting was called to address constitutional objections to this decision raised by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which last month wrote a letter to NIU President John G. Peters noting that NIU, as a state-run university, is bound by the First Amendment, which prohibits viewpoint-based discrimination in the allocation of funding and facilities to student groups. Why did the Student Association Senate nevertheless refuse to recognize SSDP when it had a second chance? If the majority had a justification aside from spite, it is not apparent in the Schools: Northern Illinois University Cases: Northern Illinois University: Unequal Treatment of Political and Religious Student Organizations