Rutgers trampled the constitution by letting students vote to defund the newspaper

Rutgers University ought to restore funding to its scholar newspaper after it violated the constitution by permitting students who don’t like what the paper publishes to vote to defund it, a First Amendment group claims.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) on Monday known as for Rutgers to restore greater than $500,000 to The Daily Targum, which lost its student fee funding via a referendum final month.

That referendum violated the constitution as a result of it let students determine how public cash is spent primarily based totally on whether or not they agree with what a scholar group does, stated Adam Goldstein, a program officer at FIRE, a non-profit free speech advocacy group.

Students, together with a conservative group that dismissed The Daily Targum as “fake news,” aren’t legally allowed to defund a public college newspaper simply as a result of they don’t agree with the content material, he stated.

“Rutgers can not allow any scholar group to lose funding as a result of somebody didn’t like what they revealed, and that’s all a referendum is: a heckler’s veto with further steps,” Goldstein stated.

FIRE cited a 2000 Supreme Court resolution involving the University of Wisconsin that discovered public universities can require a scholar to pay charges to help scholar teams whose beliefs are offensive to the scholar. That ruling additionally established that the methodology for deciding if a group will get scholar funding at a public faculty have to be “viewpoint impartial.”

“The university must immediately reverse course and implement a funding process that doesn’t subject student newspapers, or any other student organization, to layer upon layer of impermissible viewpoint discrimination,” Goldstein stated.

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