Students for Life win change to California State University funding policy

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(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A brave student at California State University San Marcos sued the school over the way it allocated student activity-fee funds, directing half the money to homosexuality-related groups yet denying a request for a minuscule sum to pay a pro-life speaker.

For all intents and purposes, he won, reports Courthousenews.

Students for Life chapter president Nathan Apodaca sued CSU San Marcos in 2017 saying the university allocated more than half of mandatory student-activity fees from the 2016-17 school year – $300,000 – to the Gender Equity Center and LGBTQIA Pride Centers on campus.

When Apodaca’s group requested a $500 grant to bring an anti-abortion speaker to campus however — less than .2 percent of the funding devoted to homosexuals and transgenders — the university denied the request.

Last year a U.S. district judge found funding distribution at the school was not based on “viewpoint-neutral criteria.” While the judge found Apodaca’s funding application was denied based on the rule prohibiting the use of student funds to pay speakers, he took issue with funding procedures generally and found they “do not contain any express policy prohibiting viewpoint discrimination.”

That ruling prompted negotiations which led to a settlement this week. Under the settlement, the CSU Chancellor’s Office must issue a policy directive to all 23 campuses advising that policies and procedures for allocating student association funds for student speech events must be based on criteria that are viewpoint neutral.

CSU San Marcos must also provide petitioners the opportunity to appeal a funding denial, a recourse that was unavailable to Apodaca when his grant request was denied.

Retroactive to July 1, 2019, the campus’ Gender Equity Center and Pride Center will no longer be funded by the mandatory student association fee charged to students. Both are now funded with state money rather than student fees.

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