Legal action has been launched after Martin Luther King’s niece was barred from speaking at an event for being “inherently religious”.
Alveda King had been invited to speak on civil rights and abortion by a pro-life group at Georgia Institute of Technology but the university refused to fund the event in case her views offended other students.
All students pay towards the fund which is supposed to be available for all university societies.
Students for Life is America’s largest pro-life student organisation, with over 1,225 groups across the US.
When member Brian Cochran applied for the funding to host King, he was “interrogated” about the views which would be voiced at the event. Such requests are normally “fast tracked” with no discussion.
Its President Kristan Hawkins commented: “Courageous student leaders across the country face real opposition from their schools because they choose to speak for the defenseless and want to peacefully educate their fellow students about it”.
The US religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Students for Life group.
Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton said: “Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, but that marketplace can’t function if a university grants funding only to student groups whose views the university favors”.
He said that under such standards, “MLK himself would not be welcome on campus”.
Last month, California State University agreed to revise policies which blocked another Students for Life group from accessing funding, following a successful lawsuit.
In 2016-17, California State University denied the pro-life group $500 to host a speaker, yet gave a total of $300,000 to the Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Pride Center.
A federal court ruled last year that the discrimination was unconstitutional, and now the university, which educates almost half a million people, is to pay $240,000 in costs and will revise its policies.