CSU Diversity Grant suspended following Students for Life lawsuit

Seth Bodine

The Colorado State University Diversity Grant has been suspended following a federal free speech lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion student group.

The grant’s purpose is to support programs that enhance the educational and cultural aspects of the university and raise awareness of differing perspectives.

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According to the grant website the suspension is to review the process and procedures in the grant process.

“Our aim is to address problems that have come to light with the existing process and ensure that it is managed in keeping with our legal and ethical obligations to all students, the First Amendment, and our institutional commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas,” the website said.

CSU Students for Life, an anti-abortion club at CSU, filed a federal lawsuit against CSU for the denial of the grant to fund a pro-life speaker.

The event, titled “Bodily Rights: The Ultimate Abortion Argument,” would have featured Josh Brahm, president of the Equal Rights Institute, a national organization dedicated to training pro-life advocates for dialogue and outreach.

The student group claimed the grant was denied because the event did not seem unbiased and the committee worried attendees from various sides of the issues “won’t necessarily feel affirmed while attending the event.”

The lawsuit, Students for Life at Colorado State University v. Mosher, states public universities cannot discriminate against student speech in a public forum on the basis of a content or viewpoint. The complaint asks the court to halt the University from applying a double-standard by funding other groups’ speaker events on similar topics.

Mike Hooker, CSU executive director of public affairs and communications, said CSU cannot comment on the grant outside of what is on the website or the active litigation.

Collegian News Editor Seth Bodine can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @sbodine120.

 

  • September 2015- CSU Students for Life apply for Diversity grant to fund anti-abortion speaker Josh Brahm, president of the Equal Rights Institute, a national organization dedicated to training pro-life advocates for dialogue and outreach. 
  • January 2017– CSU Students for Life files federal free speech lawsuit against CSU. 
  • February 2017- Diversity bill suspended to review process and procedures in grant process.