It all began in my home state back in 1995. That was when a gay activist and UNC administrator named Jonathan Curtis targeted the Muslim Student Association (MSA) for de-recognition. He didn't like the MSA position on homosexuality so he decided to yank their status as an official student group.
According to Curtis' demands, the only way the MSA could remain an official group at UNC would be to change their constitution to be more "inclusive." This de-recognition would have meant that the MSA would receive no university funding even though their members paid mandatory student activity fees. Thankfully, a UNC attorney stopped Curtis from acting on his threats.
When UNC got a new university attorney in 2002, Curtis decided to subject a number of Christian organizations to heightened scrutiny. I have in my possession every single email Curtis sent to the organizations he targeted. It is a stunning display of intolerance in the name of diversity and inclusion. In one email, Curtis told a campus Christian organization they would be derecognized if they did not remove statements from their constitution asserting a "belief in God."
Fortunately, I later found a Christian organization willing to sue. After years of fighting both in and out of court, the practice of interfering with the belief requirements of Christian organizations has ended at UNC Chapel Hill. But for years the cancer spread throughout the broader UNC system.
In 2003, UNC-Wilmington tried to derecognize the College Republicans for refusing to allow Democrats to lead their organization. We fought that battle and won. But as late as 2012, UNCW was still trying to deny official recognition to Christian organizations who wanted to be led by, of all people, Christians. It took a threat of litigation but I managed to get the university to change its policy. Now, UNCW Christian groups can control their membership and their message without government interference. But this basic freedom of association is still in jeopardy on some UNC campuses.
At their core, these assaults on freedom of association have always been assaults on freedom of speech. The campus administrators only target groups that are saying things with which the administration disagrees. The administration is trying to evangelize the student body and bring them into the church of multiculturalism. So they try to eliminate groups that promote any kind of absolute truth or core conservative values.
The IRS has now been caught doing a very similar thing. Their organization collects taxes. They have an interest in big government. So they are naturally hostile toward groups seeking a reduction in the size of government. The source of their motivation is obvious. But where do they get the hubris to act upon the desire to abuse their power?
The answer is simple: they learned it in college.
Is it any wonder that government agents are now showing the same disdain for free speech and freedom of association that has been on display on our nation's campuses since the 1990s?
Things are going to get worse, not better. Just ask the students who are now appearing before rape tribunals on American campuses. They are routinely denied attorneys when they appear before the campus judiciary. They are routinely denied the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And now campuses are giving accusers the right to appeal rape acquittals until the judiciary reaches the "right" result.
Americans beware. The students running these rape tribunals are our future prosecutors and our future judges. And they won't just be coming for our taxes. They will be coming for our liberty as well.