In response to Young Americans for Liberty’s (YAL) lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), University of California-Berkeley has revised its Registered Student Organization policy.
As part of a settlement, UC-Berkeley has agreed to make revisions to its policy that prohibit discrimination against student organizations based on their mission statements, purpose statements, uniqueness statements, and/or other viewpoints expressed in their application to become a registered student organization.
Young Americans for Liberty is a national network of students who promote individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.
The lawsuit came after the YAL chapter on campus was denied recognition on account of seeming too similar to another pro-liberty student group on campus; however, the administration has recognized multiple progressive student organizations with similar mission statements. As a result, the YAL chapter could not reserve spaces, invite speakers, or access the funds designated for student organizations that every student pays into.
UC-Berkeley has agreed to revise its policy to reflect an objective, viewpoint-neutral criterion for recognizing student organizations.
“Public university officials can’t discriminate against students because of their political beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton. “By leaving decisions on whether a student group is ‘too similar’ to another club in the hands of a university official with no requirement to follow any viewpoint-neutral standards, UC-Berkeley allowed for unconstitutional discrimination, but these changes fix that problem.
“Because these students stood up and challenged the status quo, the marketplace of ideas is freer at Berkeley today than it was last year.”
YAL President Cliff Maloney Jr. added, “As the birth place of the Free Speech Movement and a public university, UC-Berkeley has done the right thing in agreeing to respect the First Amendment in this matter. I applaud the students for standing up for their constitutionally protected freedoms and advocating for a level playing field.”
This case is a part of YAL’s national Fight for Free Speech campaign that has successfully revised 37 unconstitutional speech policies and restored First Amendment rights for 756,712 students.
Young Americans for Liberty is the largest conservative organization on America’s college campuses, with a network of hundreds of chapters and thousands of members nationwide. YAL seeks to identify, educate, train, and mobilize students on the ideals of individual liberty and the U.S. Constitution. For more information visit www.YALiberty.org.