Lone Star College (LSC) in Texas has an admirable mission: it “provides comprehensive educational opportunities and programs to enrich lives.”
If only LSC practiced what it preaches.
At the LSC-CyFair campus, for example, the Young Conservatives of Texas student group was told their status as a registered student organization (RSO) was being revoked because the mission of the group was at odds with the mission of the college.
Why? Because, after the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) group held a debate about abortion on campus, they posted a video of it on social media.
You would think this falls under the “comprehensive educational opportunities.” After all, a debate offers two different points of view. But when the group posted the debate video, the group’s advisor, the Vice President for Student Success, decided he no longer wanted to be affiliated with the group. Interestingly, he had been the advisor of YCT only because the group previously had not found any faculty or staff willing to serve as advisor.
Because student groups at LSC are required to have an advisor, that meant the student group was no longer registered on campus. And it didn’t seem likely they would find another member of the staff or faculty willing to do so.
That means the group cannot:
- host events on campus,
- bring speakers to campus,
- receive student activity funding (even though all members of the group pay student activity fees), or
- use college facilities for meetings.
The LSC-CyFair policies regarding student groups make it possible for this type of censorship to take place at the discretion of college officials. That’s why the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Academic Freedom has filed suit against the college on behalf of the Young Conservatives of Texas.
By requiring student groups to have an advisor on campus, student groups who cannot find faculty or staff willing to be their advisor are silenced and excluded from receiving the same benefits as other student groups on campus. The policies are also vague and give college officials unchecked power to approve or disallow student groups as they see fit.
If LSC-CyFair is serious about “[providing] comprehensive education opportunities and programs,” they should consider allowing a variety of viewpoints on campus – not excluding certain viewpoints they don’t like. That’s one-sided, not comprehensive.
As our complaint states: “Public colleges and universities are supposed to be a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ where the young adults that are tomorrow’s leaders are exposed to differing opinions and learn how the Constitution protects both their own rights and those of their classmates with whom they disagree.”
An environment like that, rather than one under the current LSC policies, would be more in line with their mission of providing a comprehensive education.