Washburn SBA decision
SEngelken at lawschool.gonzaga.edu
Thu Sep 23 13:17:23 PDT 2004
I have to agree with John Fee insofar as a school can require that any
organization funded by student fees not discriminate in admission of
members. If they want to discriminate in membership, how can they
demand that all students participate in their funding? If they want to
discriminate, they can self-fund.
But when you move beyond membership, I think the outcome looks different
because of the associational rights discussed in the prior postings. If
membership is open to everyone, the members can vote on who to elect as
officers, who they wish to speak at future meetings, who they want in
charge of various functions of the organization. Each individual may
vote for whom they choose for whatever reason they choose. It's
unlikely that anyone not closely identified with the "cause" will get
selected/elected to such leadership roles. They could even have secret
ballots for such voting which totally masks the reasoning behind voting.
I don't see how someone who doesn't share the "cause" can insist they
must be permitted to lead organization meetings, and I don't see how the
school can force the association to require that to happen if membership
has been open to all.
This does suggest that before funding student organizations the student
bar associations should take a good look at the articles & by-laws of
the group to ensure membership is open to everyone.
Sheri J Engelken
Gonzaga University School of Law
PO Box 3528
721 N Cincinnati, Office #442
Spokane, WA 99220
voice: 509 323 5891
email: sengelken at lawschool.gonzaga.edu
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