Pro-Life Student Club Wins Settlement After University Denies Them Funding

By Colin Fredericson

Students at Ball State University won a settlement after their pro-life student group was denied funding.

Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom helped the students win the settlement from their University. The students claim that their Students for Life club was denied $300 in funding for materials that offered resources to pregnant and parenting students, College Fix reported.

Alliance Defending Freedom wrote in a press release that Student for Life were denied funding because the organization does not fit the university administrators ideological views while they funded activities by groups that promote LGBTQ issues, atheism, and abortion.

The settlement resulted in the University agreeing to fund the students for the original request of $300, along with $12,000 in legal fees going to Alliance Defending Freedom, according to College Fix.

A six-page policy also accompanied the settlement. The policy prohibits the school from continuing to engage in discrimination towards student groups. The new “Student Organization Fund Allocation Policy” replaces the one that led to the dispute. It requires funds be allocated without the viewpoint of administrators affecting decisions.

The old policy stated that student activity fees could not be distributed to “(a)ny Organization which engages in activities, advocacy, or speech in order to advance a particular political interest, religion, religious faith or ideology,” court documents revealed.

VICTORY! Ball State University has agreed to stop illegally discriminating against Ball State Students for Life and will stop denying them student fees.

Posted by Students for Life of America on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dalton told College Fix that the students all pay into the student activities fund with their tuition fees, and deserve equal access to the pool of money the school distributes to student clubs.

“Officials denied Students for Life’s request because the organization advocates for pro-life views; however, the Student Activity Fee Committee distributed funding from the same pool to organizations that advocate for viewpoints administrators prefer, including Feminists for Action, Secular Student Alliance, and Spectrum,” said Dalton, via the press release.

“Public universities are supposed to provide a marketplace of ideas, but that market can’t function properly if university officials promote some views over others,” said Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Caleb Dalton, via the press release. “Ball State has taken some important first steps in eliminating the most blatantly unconstitutional aspects of their policies and honoring its intent to ‘respect and learn from differences in people, ideas, and opinions.’ We sincerely hope this serves as a catalyst to review all policies to maximize the free exchange of ideas at BSU.”

Students for Life at Ball State University are part of Students for Life of America. The ADF press release states it’s “the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization and currently serves more than 1,200 groups in colleges, high schools, and medical schools across the U.S.”

Alliance Defending Freedom handled the highly publicized case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, where a Christian baker refused to bake a cake for a homosexual couple, citing religious reasons. The bakery won the case at the Supreme Court level.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom’s website shows news of other litigation involving Students for Life organizations at different colleges. At California State University, Fresno, Students for Life pro-life messages were being removed by a professor and his students, even though the group had obtained permission from the school. According to the website, the professor said “college campuses are not free speech areas.” The incident was reportedly recorded on video.

Another case involved an application to create a Students for Life group at Queens College in New York City. The application was denied without explanation. After ADF filed a lawsuit, the college began recognizing Students for Life as a campus organization. Both of the lawsuits mentioned are still pending.

ADF’s website says the center has been involved in dozens of lawsuits at institutes of higher learning in just the past year alone. The center says they have an almost 90 percent success rate and have changed many college campuses that engaged in discrimination and censorship.