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Settlement requires college to stop derecognizing conservative groups based on their viewpoint

No more veto power by advisors

Less than three months after a conservative student group sued its public college for derecognizing it over its viewpoints, the college has changed its policies to resolve the litigation.

The Lone Star College System agreed to pay the plaintiffs $13,250 and change two policies so that student groups won’t face discrimination owing to their viewpoints.

Lone Star College-CyFair derecognized its chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas after its advisor resigned in protest of the group’s decision to post a video from an abortion debate it hosted.

Its advisor, Vice President of Student Success Bennie Lambert (below), had given the group permission to record the debate but didn’t like the “8-minute highlight video” (further below) it posted on Facebook, and told the club in resigning that its “mission did not align with the mission of” the college.

MORENYC college funds abortion-rights groups, won’t fund pro-life group

Prior college system policy essentially held groups hostage to the whims of their advisors, who didn’t necessarily like their groups’ viewpoints. Groups are required to have advisors to be recognized. It formerly limited advisor eligibility to full-time employees, which excluded 75 percent of the CyFair campus faculty, leaving groups like YCT in a bind when they can’t find anyone willing to serve.

The lawsuit claimed these policies subject student groups to the “unbridled discretion” of administrators, who have carte blanche to “manipulate or control student speech or to silence that speech altogether” by refusing to serve as advisors.

Under the new “Student Organizations Chancellor’s Procedures” printed in the settlement: “If the RSO’s Advisor resigns, he or she must work with the RSO to find a new Advisor or connect the RSO with the RSO Group Advisor Program. No RSO will be deregistered simply because an Advisor resigns.”

Their funding and activities also won’t be affected if their advisor resigns; the YCT chapter had to cancel its following event when its advisor resigned. The revised policy doesn’t explicitly mention qualifications for advisors, but it says groups don’t need advisors if they participate in the RSO Group Advisor Program, which appears to be a response to the litigation.

It’s not clear what has been revised in the “Student Organization Funding Procedures” policy, though it says that “RSO funding requests will be approved” unless they included prohibited items or activities. The lawsuit claimed the college system deprived students of the use of mandatory student fees based on their viewpoint.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the student group in court, did not say what exactly changed in the policies in its press release, and it didn’t immediately respond to a College Fix query.

Read the settlement and alliance release.

MORE: Lone Star sued for derecognizing YCT after it posted abortion debate video

IMAGE: everything possible/Shutterstock

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.