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Monday, November 08, 2004

Fighting the left on campus

This story doesn't appear to have been picked up by the mainstream media yet, but it is worth noting: a pro-life student at Queen's University tried to stop a mandatory student fee that funds a sexual health clinic that supports abortion.

The student, Dennis Crawford, tried to argue that the student fee violated the religious freedom of pro-life students. Unfortunately he lost -- the university's judicial committee upheld the fee. Crawford says he is considering his options.

I hope he pursues it further. At minimum, he should be applauded for his immense courage. This is an important issue. It's not even about being pro-life or pro-choice. It's about not having to pay for causes you don't believe in with your tax dollars. This type of thing deserves our support.

Now, if we could just build that conservative infrastructure so that we could fund a court challenge...

Adam Daifallah

Posted by Adam Daifallah on November 8, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Oy, I remember the bad ol' days at Kent State University when I was one of the eight appointing authorities for such student fee cases (eight campuses, eight convening authorities who provided the authority to proceed, and eight appointing authorities who established the panels who decided cases). I remember muddling through a request by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Union chapter at the campus for building a homosexual literature library. Then again, I also remember the group going extinct and my subsequent signing of a seizure order returning the unused funds to my panel's operating account so we could keep the money active too.

The only fortunate lesson from the United States in the matter is that being able to allocate such fees is on quite shaky constitutional footing nationally. Allocation of a fee to an organization typically has to be vetted through a quasi-judicial process to meet muster. Regrettably that may get tossed yet and allocations may prove impossible due to having no constitutional means of doing such.

I do not support allocations that only support a group's goals. I also do not support the violation of conscience through the paying of fees that support things one abhors. I remember when my colleagues on the judicial panel and I wrote up the new guidelines when we took over administering the process. Funding requests had to benefit the campus community AS A WHOLE. Fees like the one challenged would not have made it through the hearings to get such approved at all.

Whether or not I had to preside or if a presiding officer I picked ran the show, I do not doubt we would have agreed to the student's request discused. Then again, I was in an anomalous situation. Those years at Kent State University were at a "regional campus" which was so far right that GospelFest was supported by the ruling dean of the campus and most folks there thought National Review was often quite wonderful.

Posted by: Stephen Michael Kellat | 2004-11-08 7:30:11 PM

It's unclear how we get from a student levy to "tax dollars". I am sympathetic to this student's cause (even though I am not anti-abortion) for the same reasons I hate the fact I am forced to support radical leftist organizations with my student fees at U of T. (On principle, I went through the exercise of getting a $2 refund for the OPIRG portion of my fees last year, even though it cost me more in trouble and transportation.) But no one forces this young man to go to a school that demands, as a condition of attending, that he pay a fee that supports abortion. Again, I applaud his fight to change University policy, but it's not an issue of him having to pay or go to jail, as it is with government taxation. Even if he loses, no rights have been violated.

Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2004-11-09 7:49:27 AM

Sure- it's bad that fees are going to causes that some students don't support. But stationary students don't hit the picket lines because their fees are used for athletic facilities- for that matter, students who are not particularly studious don't seem to complain that their fees support the libraries. The issue here that the student is contesting is abortion- and I would hate to see that lost in and amongst talk of fiscal accountability. Adam says that it's not about being pro-life or pro-choice, and to a certain extent he is right. But if you take the word abortion out of this student's battle- it becomes a standard fare fiscal battle. People (other than those who like to spend time on blogs) get bored by this... Let's not anesthesize the issue at hand.

Posted by: Andrea Mrozek | 2004-11-09 3:24:05 PM

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