‘In the past, the [pro-life] group was not even able to go through the routine procedure for club approval,’ Students for Life of America said
A thrice-denied pro-life student group will get a new vote in the student senate following a legal demand letter to university administrators.
New Jersey Institute of Technology responded to the letter from Students for Life of America that demanded it honor the college group’s free speech rights.
The university’s counsel responded to the national pro-life group last week and promised the student senate would reconsider the club with a vote on Sep. 6, according to an email shared Monday with The College 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 lawyer’s letter continued.
Legal counsel is “directing the senate to actually follow the rules,” SFLA Legal Operations Supervisor Olivia Garza told The Fix in an email. “The NJIT SFL group meets all of those criteria (and has) so they shouldn’t have a problem if the senate follows the rules as instructed.”
“In the past, the NJIT SFL group was not even able to go through the routine procedure for club approval (instead they just kept getting ignored or passed onto an administrator) so this is a win for now,” Garza wrote.
The club had been “obstructed” repeatedly “by virtue of the content of the club’s viewpoint,” according to the SFLA letter. It said the university “impermissibly violated the First Amendment of the Constitution by failing to maintain clear policies resulting in the suppression of free speech and assembly.”
“We demand that you permit the formation of SFL NJIT as a viable student organization,” the pro-life group wrote.
“The club should be active and approved before the first day of the fall 2023 semester,” the letter continued. “We urge you to reconsider the University’s policies to ensure compliance with state and federal law, and to respect the rights of students.”
Jonathon Kreinberg and other pro-life students at the public university proposed an SFLA chapter to the student senate in the fall of 2021, but the senate rejected their proposal three times.
The student senate has not responded to a Fix request for comment on the situation.
The campus pro-lifers said they have tried to work with the student senate to address any concerns.
“When we sent our first group proposal in Fall 2021, it was returned quickly and contained comments from the NJIT Student Senate,” student leader Jonathan Kreinberg wrote in an August 12 post for the SFLA blog.
“While many of these comments seemed unreasonable, we responded to each concern in a follow up submission — yet, we were rejected for a second time for similar reasons,” Kreinberg continued.
“We took the following semester to write a third, comprehensive club constitution and proposal that left no room for possible caveats,” he wrote. “Once again, after a long waiting period, we were rejected.”
The student senate informed the students a pro-life club was “not unique,” and they could discuss their beliefs at the campus Science and Politics Society, he wrote.
The senate added the school’s Murray Center for Women in Technology was working on providing more resources to pregnant and parenting students.
However, Kreinberg found the “Murray Center could not inform us on any initiatives they had for pregnant and parenting students, and second, we found that the Science and Politics Society had gone dormant.”
Even more, “just weeks after our first rejection, an email was sent out to the whole university inviting students ‘passionate about health care equity and protecting reproductive rights’ to a Planned Parenthood prospective club event,” he wrote.
Despite their lack of official group recognition, NJIT pro-life students have organized events. In January, students attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C., according to the NJIT Vector.
IMAGE: Students for Life of America/Facebook