Texas Aggie Conservatives file lawsuit against University
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Texas Aggie Conservatives, a recognized student organization, filed a lawsuit against University President R. Bowen Loftin and several other Texas A&M University staff members on June 13.
The lawsuit, Texas Aggie Conservatives v. Loftin was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
TAC claims its 1st and 14th Amendment rights were violated when it was denied funding based on its religious and political affiliations.
TAC held an event in February that featured author, columnist, and political activist Star Parker, who discussed issues of poverty, race, government and social justice. To offset the cost of the event, TAC requested $2,500 from student organization funding.
Its request was denied by the Student Advisory Board because TAC is not on the approved list that qualifies for such funding. It was, however, granted $500 from the Department of Student Activities.
The eligibility to apply for events funding is listed in the Student Organization Manual as a benefit to being a recognized student organization. But not all organizations are granted this privilege.
Organizations under the following categories — religious, social and political issues, sports clubs, Memorial Student Center-affiliated or Health Science Center-affiliated — are not eligible.
When an organization submits a request for University funding, there is no appeal process and no public records are available from the decision making process.
TAC’s official legal statements said it was denied funding because of discrimination against its views. TAC said numerous organizations that fall under the list of excluded organizations have received funding for similar events.
An example cited in the official complaint was an organization that fights violence against women, TAMU V-Day. It received $800 to host a speaker to talk about political and social issues. In addition, the Black Student Alliance Council received funds to pay for an event in Rudder Theatre, the same venue TAC requested funds for.
TAC is being represented by Alliance Defense Fund, an organization that “provides the resources that will keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel through legal defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family.”
As faculty members at Texas A&M are being served, TAC awaits a response.
A&M Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jason Cook declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.
“We’re hopeful that A&M will work with us to get this resolved before the fall semester,” said David Hacker, legal counsel for Alliance Defense Fund.