The craziness that is engulfing American universities with respect to Critical Race Theory is exemplified by a recent ruing of the Student Bar Association of Rutgers Law School-Camden. Fortunately, some timely intervention from the estimable Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), recounted in its article below (click on screenshot), forced the students to rescind their rule.
Click on the screenshot to read:
The SBA of Rutgers’ Camden campus added a section to its constitution entitled “Student Organizations Fostering Diversity and Inclusion” on Nov. 20 , mandating that any group that wishes to receive more than $250 in university funding must “plan at least one (1) event that addresses their chosen topics through the lens of Critical Race Theory, diversity and inclusion, or cultural competency.” Last fall, 19 of 22 student groups requested more than $250.
This puts student clubs in a bind: Should they request the funding they need, even though it would require planning an event — such as hosting a speaker, outing, or mixer — that may be at odds with or unrelated to the group’s own views?
As FIRE noted, Rutgers is a state university, and is therefore forbidden by Supreme Court rulings from “viewpoint discrimination,” which includes differential distribution of funds to student groups based on their politics or views. The requirement that student groups—many of which surely aren’t involved with CRT—hold specific events promoting CRT is therefore unconstitutional. This was pointed out to the President of Rutgers in a 5-page letter from FIRE on May 17.
After the letter arrived, the Student Bar Association (SBA) met with the Rutgers administration and rescinded their stipulation. The SBA Presidents, however, responded petulantly, saying in a May 23 email to the student body that they did this because of the issues involved and the time deadline, but that they were not giving up. This section of the letter implies that they’ll continue their unconstitutional—and ultimately futile—fight. Click to enlarge:
Of course “the other guys who say so” include the Supreme Court! It’s almost humorous that they think they can pass the amendment again or something like it. That would also be unconstitutional.
It’s manifestly obvious that no public school can force its constituent groups to present seminars pushing a particular ideology. It’s as if a conservative SBA voted that every funded student group would have to present a seminar favoring unrestricted access to guns by Americans, or blanket opposition to immigration. Be the issue on the liberal or conservative side, groups cannot be forced to adhere to or present a favored ideology.
The fact that the Rutgers SBA could even try something like this tells us about the warped thinking that has infected America in the last year. There’s nothing wrong with fighting racism, but there’s everything wrong with fighting it by using unconstitutional means forcing others who may disagree with your methods to nevertheless mouth your approved ideology. It also tells us that a Student Bar Association that blatantly violates a Supreme Court decision needs to bone up on its law.