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California Students Fight for Free Association with New Organization

We’ve been telling you here on The Torch about how so-called “all-comers” policies are slowly dismantling freedom of association on college campuses across the country. These policies, which state that student groups may not require members or leaders to hold the beliefs espoused by the organization, have been responsible for the mass exodus of religious organizations from Vanderbilt University. And now the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, which adopted an all comers policy a few years ago, has used the policy to derecognize InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters throughout the system.

Like at Vanderbilt, students are not taking this change lying down. Brothers Nate (of San Diego State University) and Logan Honeycutt (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) have started the CSU Student Organizations for Free Association (CSU SOFA), an “alliance of belief and merit-based student organizations working to take back our First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Association and thereby protect the mission, values, and principles of our groups.”

The group’s website has information and ways to join the cause. One such way is to sign the group’s petition either as an individual or as an organization. The website suggests that students work with CSU administrators to urge them to protect freedom of association. But if that fails, CSU SOFA advises supporters to support corrective legislation, like the laws passed in North Carolina, Idaho, Ohio, and Virginia that eliminated those policies statutorily.

FIRE is encouraged to see students fighting back. Those in the CSU system who are interested in getting involved to advocate for their free association rights, check out CSU SOFA!

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