Students for Life Group Settles Lawsuit Over Unfair Fee Allocation

Brenna Lewis - 04 Feb 2020

“Schools cannot use the power of the purse to punish students who value mothers as well as their preborn babies,” said SFLA’s Kristan Hawkins.

SAN DIEGO, CA and FREDERICKSBURG, VA (02-04-20) —  Students for Life of America announced a successful settlement of a free-speech lawsuit against California San-Marcos over their unfair allocation of student fees, in which despite large payments to other groups a Students for Life event could not get funding. The lawsuit started in 2017, and in 2019, a judge ruled in favor of Students for Life.  The university had allocated $300,000 to an LGBT center on campus, but refused a request for $500 for the Students for Life group to bring University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor Mike Adams in for an event.

“Public universities have no right to use their power, including mandatory student fees, to fund speech they prefer while blocking speech they don’t like,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Because of the initiative and courage of student leaders at Cal State-San Marcos, pro-life students at public universities across California will benefit from the administration’s policy reversal. Pro-life students should have every opportunity available to them that pro-abortion students enjoy, and anything less is a failure on the part of the university to abide by the First Amendment. Schools cannot use the power of the purse to punish students who value mothers as well as their preborn babies.”

“Public universities should encourage all students to participate in the free exchange of ideas, not create elaborate and secretive funding schemes to fund their favorite groups while excluding opposing views from equal access,” said ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton. “We’re grateful the district court rejected the university’s unfair, secretive, and discriminatory policy, and that the university has agreed to allocate student fees only in a viewpoint-neutral manner, instead of picking favorites. The university system’s policy changes don’t simply benefit our clients but also benefit any student with a minority viewpoint and every citizen who cares about dialogue and intellectual freedom within our public colleges and university communities.”

You can read Kristan Hawkins’ Wall Street Journal op-ed on common violations of free-speech here.

For questions, please contact Kristi Hamrick at [email protected].


Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life student organization with over 1,225 student groups on high school and college campuses across the country.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to ensuring freedom of speech and association for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

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