University officials do not have the authority to suppress viewpoints simply because they disagree with those views. Unfortunately, the court in our case—Young America’s Foundation v. Kaler—failed to respect that core principle of both the First Amendment and higher education.
Young America’s Foundation, in conjunction with the other plaintiffs and their attorneys—Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)—brought this lawsuit after learning that the university engaged in blatant viewpoint discrimination against a prominent conservative speaker—Ben Shapiro—by restricting the size of the audience and moving his speaking event to an inconvenient location miles away from the main campus because they weren’t fond of Ben Shapiro’s views.
The court’s opinion held that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. YAF and ADF are now evaluating a possible appeal.
When universities are able to disfavor viewpoints, everybody loses. The First Amendment applies equally to all Americans, regardless of ideology, and nobody should support government officials discriminating based on differing viewpoints with no accountability.