Pro-life students sue Georgia Tech over refusal to fund Alveda King event

The campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, Ga.
The campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, Ga. | Courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology

A student group has sued the Georgia Institute of Technology, claiming that they discriminated against them when they requested and were denied funding for an event featuring pro-life activist Alveda King.

The Students for Life at Georgia Tech filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

The suit names as defendants various Georgia Tech officials, the school’s Student Government Association, and the Regents of the University System of Georgia.

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At issue was the SGA’s refusal last year to provide funding for an event featuring King, with the suit claiming that the funding was denied because of the speaker’s religious and pro-life views.

The suit also argues that speaker requests from other student groups "are routinely 'fast tracked' without any discussion" by SGA members. 

“It is discriminatory and unconstitutional to withhold funding from student activity fees that students have already paid into simply because a group holds a pro-life, conservative, or religious belief,” states the complaint.

“The Supreme Court made it clear twenty years ago that if public universities wish to force students to pay student activity fees, then those universities have an affirmative duty to ensure that the funds are distributed in a viewpoint neutral manner—not by a simple majority vote.”

The students are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a high-profile conservative law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.

ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement released Wednesday that he believed Georgia Tech’s student government engaged in unconstitutional behavior.

“The student government discriminated against the viewpoints of Students for Life and Ms. King in favor of the views of students the SGA members were afraid to offend,” he said.

“Rather than exemplify this sort of hostility toward the First Amendment, universities should exemplify the importance of those freedoms. When they don’t, they communicate to an entire generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”

The Christian Post received a statement via email from Georgia Tech regarding the lawsuit, explaining that they just learned of the lawsuit and “do not comment on pending litigation.”

“Georgia Tech holds freedom of expression as an essential cornerstone to the advancement of knowledge,” it added.

The University System of Georgia similarly told CP that they do not give comment on pending litigation, but said they supported freedom of speech on campus. 

“[T]he USG is committed to protecting the free expression rights of our students, faculty, staff, and those on our campuses. The USG is reviewing the complaint along with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office," they stated. 

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