Branch of Rutgers Law School rescinds unconstitutional requirement mandating “viewpoint discrimination” with respect to CRT

May 28, 2021 • 9:15 am

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:

As FIRE reports in an earlier post:

The SBA of Rutgers’ Camden campus added a section to its constitution entitled “Student Organizations Fostering Diversity and Inclusion” on Nov. 20 [2020], 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After the letter arrived, the Student Bar Association (SBA) met with the Rutgers administration and rescinded their stipulation.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.

27 thoughts on “Branch of Rutgers Law School rescinds unconstitutional requirement mandating “viewpoint discrimination” with respect to CRT

  1. But of course, Cynical Race Theory shows us white supremacy is everywhere, including the Supreme Court itself. Why else would the name be “Supreme”?

    Can’t falsify that – must be true.


    1. These days it seems that the general attitude is that the law is something to be circumvented rather than respected.

      1. As manifested in, e.g., rolling through stop signs, driving at excessive speed through neighborhoods posted with signs stating “Drive Like Your Children Live Here.”

  2. These are future lawyers! The horror…The horror…

    What a downright Orwellian dictate. “All groups must push our ideology or else!” But they’re not going to give up! They’ll keep trying until everyone is forced to push their particular ideology. They want full conformity and nothing less will do.

    “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.”

    I don’t know, I think it’s more like if a racist SBA voted that every funded group had to present a seminar teaching that white people are ubermenschen, or a misogynistic SBA voted that all such groups teach that men are better and more valuable than women. At least favoring unrestricted access to guns or opposition to immigration are legitimate policy positions (the fact that I disagree with them does not make them otherwise). CRT is a complete ideology that teaches many different things, and many of those aren’t policies but modes of thought. To force the promotion of CRT is to force a certain way of looking at the world, while the two examples our host gives are merely policies that can be debated in a liberal, democratic society.

    1. (sorry, edit button isn’t showing up on this post)

      Also, did anyone notice all the typos in the SBA’s email? I certainly wouldn’t want them writing an important legal document for me!

  3. It shows great ignorance in history as well. What in the past gives them the idea that racism can be removed by force or by legal action. These CRT people would make themselves much more useful if they concentrated on the urgent business in politics today. As the Senate currently twists in the wind concerning whether or not to have a commission look at the Jan. 6 insurrection a WP writer, made a great finish to his piece today: Eugene Robinson — Choosing powerlessness in the name of abstract principle isn’t just weak. It is an unseemly sacrifice of everything else Democrats say matters.

    1. What in the past gives them the idea that racism can be removed by force or by legal action[?]

      I’m certainly not defending the Rutger’s SBA in any respect.

      But to answer your historical question, I think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shows that racism can be overcome by law, and that the National Guard’s accompanying James Meredith on his matriculation to Ole Miss (and the 101st Airborne’s accompanying the Little Rock Nine into Central High School) demonstrate that, where the need arose, racism has been overcome by force.

      1. Well, I think this is the crux of the matter. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought to overcome institutional racism, which I think we can do via the law. The law can only change actions and not beliefs, though. That’s why I think it is silly to talk about “systematic racism” (especially as an unchanging part of the American History), but why we can still admit that there are always issues with racism. Dealing with personal racism, like any personal belief, either takes a lot of time and patience, or vary little time and lots of deaths.

      2. Temporary actions at best. How long did the busing last to desegregate schools. And many more private/religious and charter schools to undo the same.The Supreme court itself has done plenty to reduce the affect of the civil rights act. Just look at what the states are doing now to voting rights. It is a joke. As long as the states are on equal basis with federal, they will never accomplish much to resolve racism. This has been shown since the big mistakes back in 1787. The problems with the Senate and the states now are due to these mistakes that have never been addressed and may never be.

  4. I find CRT deeply flawed — though, like John McWhorter, I think it’s entitled to a seat at the table of theory in the marketplace of ideas. Nevertheless, to make it mandatory in any respect at a state university violates the First Amendment, tout court.

    1. Well, SNL tried (for those outside of North America, SNL = satirical sketch comedy broadcast Saturday Night Live, on NBC):
      Levi’s Wokes (I’m woke, why aren’t my jeans). 2017

      1. Those woke pants somewhat resemble these wide17th century breeches.
        They look pretty comfy.

  5. So here we are: Republican state legislatures are hurrying to outlaw CRT, while future lawyers and jurists of the Rutgers SBA, speaking for the woke Left, want to make it mandatory! Are we headed for a stage that might be called Weimaraner? —referring to the 1920s German regime rather than the dog. It apparently took an intervention by FIRE to remind the Rutgers administration of
    the US constitution, not to mention the presence of the word “Liberal” in the term “Liberal Arts”.

  6. What disappoints me most about things like this is how quickly well-meaning people reach for an evil dictatorial solution rather than putting in even the smallest amount of mental work to come up with a good alternative.

    So for instance here, if the SBA feels it’s really important for clubs to do CRT, then just offer a “we’ll give you $250 towards your first CRT event” deal. It’s a perfectly legal way to get CRT to a broader audience of student groups, and as a bonus, minus the evil.

    1. If the SBA then refused to offer $250 to a group’s first anti-CRT event, wouldn’t that also count as viewpoint discrimination?

  7. An aside that even took my breath away:
    On a broadcast lately I heard a young woke-rouge woman describe herself and her group as “Abolitionists”. I was aghast for a moment…. but then I thought: “Good, somebody getting down to working on those Mauritanians where there IS actually the remnants and reality of slavery. Good!”

    But no. She was talking about being an abolitionist in this country. Now.

    Where do you even start with that…?


    1. She probably meant abolishing the police, maybe also the prisons. And yes, there are people who think this is a good idea.

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