Ball State University Changes Funding Policy after Pro-Life Group Files Lawsuit
Ball State University in Indiana has agreed to pay the university's chapter of Students for Life $300 as a part of a legal settlement. The Students for Life organization had requested the money from the Student Activity Fee Committee earlier this year but was denied the funding because of their pro-life ideology.
Since the settlement, the college has changed its previous policy on student activity funding allocation which allowed discrimination against "religious, political, or ideological" expression and generally awarded funding to left-leaning political groups on campus.
According to The Christian Post, the fee committee granted funding to other politically aligned student groups including, Feminists for Action, Secular Student Alliance and the LGBT group Spectrum.
After being denied funding in February – that reportedly would have been used to share educational resources with pregnant and parenting students – the BSU Students for Life chapter filed suit in June.
The lawsuit notes that the university gave the fee committee authority to decide which groups would receive funding from the mandatory activity fees paid by all students. Reportedly, members of Students for Life paid a collective student activities fee totaling to more than $1,000 this year but were still denied access to funding.
According to the lawsuit, Students for Life accused the BSU student government association of "playing favorites" and "stifling free speech."
The school has since altered its student funding allocation policy – which will go into effect on Friday – making funds available on a "viewpoint-neutral manner."
The policy states, "Viewpoint-neutral funding means that funding decisions are not based on a group's point of view or message and funding will not be denied because the recipient of the funds advocates a particular opinion."
It goes on to say, "Viewpoint-neutral criteria for evaluating funding proposals may consider only factors that are not tied to viewpoints."
Not only will the school being awarding the Students for Life group the $300 previously denied to them, but they have also agreed to pay $12,000 in legal fees to the group's lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Lonely Planet