There's a major battle unfolding at Texas A&M University, as a conservative student group is suing after the higher education facility denied its request for funding. The Texas Aggie Conservatives claim that the refusal to fund their activities serves as a constitutional violation.
World on Campus has more about the drama, which is serving as a surprise to those who generally regard the university's student population as right-of-center:
The student body at Texas A&M University has a reputation for its conservative bent. It's even been reported that more of the school's graduates enter Christian ministry than their peers at the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated Baylor University, about 90 miles to the northwest.
So it came as a surprise when school officials denied the Texas Aggie Conservatives funding from a school account established to help pay for student organizations' activities. The organization has responded with a lawsuit charging the denial violated its constitutional rights.
The Texas Aggie Conservatives needed $6,800 to host a February speaking engagement featuring black social conservative Star Parker. The group's leaders requested $2,500 from Student Organization Funding to offset the cost. Officially recognized student organizations have access to the account for special events and general budget funding.
However, the university denied the funding to the conservative student group, causing outrage and allegations that Texas A&M is acting in a manner contrary to the constitution. Currently, any organization is able to receive funds so long that it was not formed on the basis of religious, social or political reasons. In addition to these purposes, sports clubs and those with ties to the student center and health science center aren't eligible for funding.
The Texas Aggie Conservatives are fighting these restrictions, as they've enlisted the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)'s David Hacker to take the case to the courts. The lawsuit, which is drawing quite a bit of attention, was filed against the school on June 19. Hacker claims that Texas A&M must "provide...funds on a viewpoint-neutral basis" and that their current restrictions aren't permissible.
But there's a larger issue that goes beyond the university's stance on funding student groups. According to Hacker, there have been major inconsistencies in how monies have been doled out. World continues:
Hacker said the university's policy was not only unconstitutional but inconsistently applied. Other student organizations, including the NAACP, the Muslim Student Association, the Black Student Alliance, and TAMU V-Day, which hosts "The Vagina Monologues," a racy stage play, all received money from the fund.
Hacker said the students with Texas Aggie Conservatives discovered the discrepancies. They also discovered the school had denied funding to Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi.
Rather than calling for specific groups to lose funding, the conservative organization wants every organization, regardless of the basis of its founding, to be eligible to receive funds from Texas A&M. In the past the ADF has had success in winning similar cases.
Read more about the intriguing legal dilemma over at World on Campus.