Earlier today I wrote about the clear case of viewpoint discrimination by the student government at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), when it twice denied funding for a lecture tonight by conservative writer and speaker David Horowitz due to Horowitz’s viewpoints. In that post, I showed the strong evidence of viewpoint discrimination in the notes from the first meeting of the Associated Students Finance Board. (These notes show that they discussed their discriminatory plans during the meeting.) Discriminating on the basis of political views in student fee funding, which is what happened here on multiple occasions, violates the First Amendment.
In this post, I will discuss evidence from the Associated Students (AS) Legislative Council minutes of May 4, 2011, in which even more decisions were made to deny funding for the event due to Horowitz’s viewpoints. There’s no way in the world that UCSB’s campus counsel could argue with a straight face that the decisions were constitutional—unless somebody has been lying to her and keeping her from seeing these minutes.
To make a long story short: After the Finance Board voted to give the UCSB College Republicans (CRs) nothing for the event, CRs President Steven Begakis took the case to the Legislative Council. The CRs requested $1,100 for security, $370 for audio visual services, and $300 for recording (a total of $1,770). Here’s what Finance Board Chair Katie Lieberknecht said during the Legislative Council meeting, according to the minutes:
[A]fter the board made their decision I was contacted by [AS Executive Director] Marisela [Marquez]. The rationale presented in the [Finance Board] minutes is a violation of University policy 86.30 in the Legal Code. UCSB Regent’s Lawyer brought this to our attention.
Joe Lee: So if we deny them funding whatsoever we’re open to a lawsuit, but can we deny them under the advisement to seek alternative funding?
Katie: You can, but that was not the rationale Finance Board gave. But I do want to encourage that this is beating around the bush, you need to take action tonight.
Click through to find some additional quotes from the debate, which was mostly about Horowitz’s viewpoints and expression. Few stood up for freedom of speech or equal treatment. The result was an allocation of $1,100. But then the Legislative Council (LC) "got yelled at" by the audience, some LC members claimed that they had not been paying attention, and LC ultimately re-voted, allocating only $800. What a great process—don’t you love student government?
TAKE ACTION: Tell UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang to step in and put an immediate end to the student government’s viewpoint discrimination against the College Republicans.