10.5.11

FREE SPEECH RESTORED, SLOWLY.  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has persuaded the Northern Illinois University Student Association to provide money for political and religious organizations.
After months of delay and pressure from FIRE, Northern Illinois University (NIU) has finally given political and religious organizations access to student activity fee funding. In 2010, NIU's Student Association brazenly flouted Supreme Court precedent by discriminating against all such groups, maintaining extensive double standards, and denying recognition altogether to NIU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) on two separate occasions.
The university's latest response shows progress from the partial victory of December last, but there is more work to do.
No student government at a public university may reduce or deny student activity fee funding to a student group because its expression might trouble, offend, or embarrass the student government. Nor may the student government base recognition or funding decisions on a group's political or religious views.

NIU now needs to edit its Budget Training Workshop PowerPoint presentation (.PPT) and other documents accordingly. Slide 11 of the PowerPoint still states that religious and political organizations will not be funded.
FIRE will be watching to ensure that NIU maintains viewpoint neutrality and meets its constitutional obligations.
Examinations are in progress, and grades are due soon. Updates on this case will be provided all the same.

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