The Justice Department has sided with conservative groups in their lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley, which alleges discrimination against conservative speakers.
The Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation have brought suit against the University of California alleging that their policies violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. It alleges that the policies grant University administrators “unfettered discretion” to decide which visiting speakers are subject to stricter speaking rules. The rules include early curfews, sky-high security costs or undesirable venues.
The Young America’s Foundation is a conservative organization that to promote intellectual diversity on college campuses.
The DOJ filed a statement of interest in the case, siding with the plaintiffs. “This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand wrote in a statement,
Berkeley College Republicans and YAF have tried to bring conservative speakers such as Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro to the campus many times in the last year, they say. But speakers were subject to strict rules not applied to other speakers, the groups say. They cite, for example, the University setting a 3 p.m. curfew for one of the speakers that conflicted with class schedules.
Roqua Montez, a spokesman for Berkley, said the University does not “discriminate against speakers invited by student organizations based upon viewpoints…This suit has already been dismissed by the court once. The campus will continue to vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”
This statement of interest is the third the DOJ has filed in support of conservative groups on college campuses in the last six months.