Montclair State University’s draconian policies targeting conservative students have finally come to a head, forcing administrators to explain themselves.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of Mena Botros and Young Americans for Liberty by the Alliance Defending Freedom makes it apparent that Montclair clearly and regularly discriminated against students who did not adhere to politically correct, liberal viewpoints.
The rules the university had in place look like they come from a totalitarian regime. Montclair required students to request permission to speak in public at least two weeks in advance of the event. The student government authority in charge of processing requests was allowed to discriminate against certain speakers based solely on these speakers’ political views. Put simply, the authorities could freely silence anyone they didn’t agree with without fear of retribution.
The university also set up a Bias Education Response Taskforce to silence anyone who expressed a point of view that could possibly make others uncomfortable. The campus polices clearly backed up the team, evidenced by the fact that an officer at the university stopped Ms. Botros and two others who were engaged in a peaceful demonstration. As part of the demonstration, Botros and her companions dressed as criminals, and held up signs stating they were in favor of gun-free zones. The message was obvious: gun-free zones pose a risk to the public. Apparently, the demonstration offended at least one of the other students.
To make matters worse, Montclair State University requires students to pay fees to cover various university-based groups. Members of Young Americans for Liberty, like other students on campus, were required to pay the fees even though the money covered events and speeches that ran contrary to their beliefs. At the same time, Montclair classified YAL in the lowest category of groups to make it impossible for the group to request funding that was freely available to left-leaning organizations.
Given these onerous restrictions, it’s not surprising that Michael Laffey, the ADF attorney who is representing the plaintiffs in the case, is asking the judge to rule that the university’s practices are in violation of the Constitution. Mena Botros and Young Americans for Liberty are also asking for compensatory damages.
There was a time when universities provided students with a top-quality education, allowing different groups on campus to express their ideas freely even if these ideas happened to offend someone. At the same time, students fully understood that a university education entailed listening to worldviews that they may not agree with, and so weren’t offended when people expressed ideas that ran contrary to their own. Sadly, those days are long gone.
While Montclair State University is in the spotlight for its transgressions against free speech, it’s not the only far-left university to enforce these sort of restrictions. As students, faculty members, and guest speakers have discovered, sharing certain views on campus can be downright dangerous. Those who believe in First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, traditional marriage, or really anything not of the left are continually at risk of being discriminated against, harassed or even physically attacked.