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Pro-life student group wins official status after two-year battle

‘The continuous delay and persistent rejections are in violation of the law,’ the group’s lawyer wrote

A pro-life group at a New Jersey university gained official status following a two-year battle and three denials by the student government.

The new Students for Life chapter at the New Jersey Institute of Technology “has officially been recognized and approved,” Students for Life of America Press Strategist Caroline Wharton wrote in an email last week to The College Fix.

“The school’s prospective Students for Life of America (SFLA) group is looking forward to finally having official campus status after being wrongfully denied three times by their Student Senate,” SFLA had written in an earlier blog post.

Student groups must be officially recognized by the school senate in order to apply for student activity fee funding, according to the NJIT Student Organization Handbook.

NJIT alumnus Jonathan Kreinberg contributed to the fight, beginning in fall 2021, to have the SFLA chapter recognized. He told The Fix in an email in September that he had endeavored to establish the pro-life club because he is “convinced that abortion is the literal slaughter of the innocent and vulnerable, and I am further disturbed by the fact that there is silence on the issue at NJIT.”

“I believe that this silence exists because of social pressures that have found their way into the university and have further been embraced by powers in the university,” Kreinberg wrote.

When asked what the club hopes to accomplish, he told The Fix that “the club intends to prioritize service to the NJIT community.”

“This includes efforts towards creating services for pregnant and/or parenting mothers on campus … and efforts towards ensuring that students have access to specialized service organizations (abortion pill reversal hotline, abortion regret services),” he wrote.

“The club also intends to provide informational resources and to host events that uphold the club’s views on life,” Kreinberg said. “The hope is that these events not only bring people together with similar views but provide a space for those who disagree with us to explore our views. Anyone is invited to explore the club and engage in civil discussion.”

The Fix emailed Kreinberg last week to ask about the voting timeline and whether the decision had been delayed in September or October. The Fix also asked the same question twice via email of Michael Davis, director of the NJIT office of student life. No response has been received yet.

The club members had won an invitation in August to have their proposal reviewed by the Student Senate following three denials beginning in the fall of 2021, The College Fix reported at the time. The senate informed the club that it was “not unique” and that they could address their issues elsewhere.

In response, SFLA’s corporate office had sent a legal letter to the school demanding it honor the group’s free speech rights.

“The continuous delay and persistent rejections are in violation of the law,” SFLA lawyer Zachary Kester wrote.

“The request to form an officially recognized pro-life club at NJIT was obstructed by virtue of the content of the club’s viewpoint,” Kester said.

Additionally, NJIT “impermissibly violated the First Amendment of the Constitution by failing to maintain clear policies resulting in the suppression of free speech and assembly,” he wrote.

NJIT’s counsel responded to the national pro-life group and promised the student senate would reconsider the club, according to an email shared with The Fix.

“The Students For Life organization will be invited to present the organization at the first Student Senate meeting of the semester and a re-vote will take place,” the NJIT lawyer wrote.

“The Student Senate will be instructed that their vote must be based on the defined criteria set forth in the student organization recognition process,” the school’s counsel said.

MORE: Bowling Green student charged with vandalism of pro-life center

IMAGE: Students for Life of America/Facebook

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About the Author
Georgia Lucas -- University of North Carolina Pembroke