Is it right for colleges and universities to require students to pay a student activity feeand then allow that money to finance student groups with political agendas many students would never choose to support?
Scott Southworth doesn't think so. A student at the University of Wisconsin, Southworth challenged his school's student fee policy. He knew union members have a right to object to their dues being used for causes with which they disagree. Southworth argued in court that the university's policyfollowed by most Michigan colleges and universities as wellviolated his First Amendment rights not to have to subsidize speech he found offensive.
Incredibly, the U.S. Supreme Court supported the universitybut said schools must be "viewpoint neutral" in dispensing funds. Yet, at the University of Michigan, politically left-wing groups received more than twice the funding from mandatory student fees as conservative or libertarian groups did in the Fall 1999 semester.
Thomas Jefferson said "it is sinful and tyrannical to compel a man to furnish money for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves in." Michigan colleges and universities should stop requiring studentswhether on the political left or rightto subsidize groups they would never support voluntarily.