Oklahoma: Today, Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to the University of Oklahoma (OU Student Government Association (SGA) demanding that it do its job of protecting the First Amendment rights of all students on campus. SLF observes in the letter that members of SGA are actively working to silence conservative groups. For example, they have threatened to revoke funding of groups like Turning Point USA (TPUSA) because they dislike their views. They apply unconstitutional reservation policies to conservative groups, but not others. And when they learned that TPUSA invited conservative speaker Ann Coulter to speak on campus, they did nothing to disavow threats of violence directed at TPUSA’s members or to ensure that their speech would be protected.
Imagine walking to class on your college campus when a peer recognizes you. But instead of waving hello, he spits on you. Why? Because you’re a conservative.
This sounds too shocking to be true, but sadly it is the reality at the University of Oklahoma. Conservative students on campus are consistently assaulted, threatened and harassed. For instance, in addition to a conservative student being spat on while walking to class, another student was called a “Nazi Klan b***h.”
SLF writes in its letter that even the President of SGA “made it clear that he firmly opposed TPUSA’s decision to bring Coulter to campus. He claimed that the event ‘benefited not one student’ and accused TPUSA and Coulter of having ‘hateful ideologies.'”
“Over the past year, there has been an astonishing rise in attacks against conservative students on college campuses from their own representatives on student government,” says SLF Attorney Cece O’Leary. “But just like administrators, student governments are bound by the Constitution and must treat all viewpoints equally.”
In the letter, SLF warns that SGA cannot engage in viewpoint or content-based discrimination against their peers. It writes that SGA’s consistent actions to undermine conservative student organizations “can be described as nothing more than yet another scheme to remove TPUSA and other conservative groups from campus or, at the very least, to chill their expression.”
Through its 1A Project, SLF continues its role of holding all government actors accountable on college campuses, and it will continue to monitor the situation at OU.