Young America's Foundation has issued a lawsuit against the University of Florida for violating students' constitutionally protected rights.
The lawsuit was triggered after a lecture by filmmaker and author Dinesh D'Souza on campus. School officials moved to implement policies YAF says are designed to keep conservative ideas out of the university.
"Without applying any objective criteria, the University of Florida subjectively designates student organizations into one of two categories—budgeted and non-budgeted. Unsurprisingly, the University placed UF YAF in the non-budgeted category despite the chapter’s efforts to obtain budgeted status. Budgeted student organizations receive annual funding from student activity fees automatically. Non-budgeted student groups—those not favored by UF—have to petition the school for funding for each event, and the disparate treatment doesn't stop there," a press release states. "UF’s new policy also disqualifies non-budgeted student organizations from obtaining student activity fee funding if it goes toward a guest speaker’s honoraria. By contrast, budgeted student organizations can use student activity fee funding to pay a speakers’ honoraria."
"Over the last two years, UF YAF is the only non-budgeted student organization to request student activity funding to pay for a guest speakers’ honoraria," the release continues.
Two weeks ago, YAF scored a major free speech victory against UC-Berkeley after the university created a number of discriminatory rules that were only applied to conservative students and speakers.
"UF officials are actively trying to stifle the University of Florida Young Americans for Freedom chapter on the basis of the students’ conservative beliefs,” Young America's Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown said about the Florida lawsuit. “This past year, the University of Florida denied UF YAF funding to host Dana Loesch and Andrew Klavan. That denial—and the timing of policy changes that, in function, only impact UF YAF—speaks loudly to the University of Florida's true intention to prevent conservative ideas being heard on campus. The First Amendment guarantees all students the right to free expression, yet the University of Florida seems to think that it has the power to arbitrarily deprive students of their free speech rights,” added Brown. “This viewpoint censorship has to stop.”