Attacks on CFACT have no merit

The next time a progressive tells me they support the First Amendment, I will laugh in their face. Students for a Democratic Society is laughably trying to shut down Condoleezza Rice and kick Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow off campus. Apparently SDS finds speech from conservatives far too painful for its sensitive ears.

In an April 2 letter, “Revoke CFACT’s student group status,” SDS member Matt Boynton claims SDS had its group recognition revoked because it “hung some banners.” But SDS leaves out the part about noisily disrupting convocation and bypassing security in Mariucci Arena to do so, as if those were just ancillary details.

And despite the humorous allegation of “political bias” toward conservatives, the University administration initially told SDS that it would receive no academic punishment. That is, until I had two columns in the Minnesota Daily that explained how the book had been thrown at CFACT members for sitting in on an improperly closed meeting. I’d hoped to shame the administration into some fairness.

But there is no shaming the Student Service Fees Committee into fairness. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court setting the standard of viewpoint neutrality, which means similar groups with different viewpoints are supposed to be treated the same, the SSFC historically would do mental backflips to draw distinctions to give progressive counterpart Minnesota Public Interest Research Group more funding than CFACT. The SSFC was clearly setting a standard that services and benefits described in MPIRG’s words would be funded. CFACT took the hint.

The U.S. Supreme Court gives minority points of view protection from viewpoint discrimination in a public forum if they are modeled after another group. When I chaired CFACT, we regularly modeled our public comments after MPIRG’s application because the SSFC joyfully funded their liberal activity. We actually had marginal success using this tactic because the SSFC saw the unfairness of its biases. This alleged plagiarism was not dishonest then, and it isn’t now, either.

The charges of plagiarism ring especially hollow because the fees process is not an academic exercise. Besides, MPIRG is a purveyor of model legislation — that’s right, MPIRG regularly “plagiarizes” laws from other states to be enacted in Minnesota. Where’s the outrage?

Get back to me about administrative bias when MPIRG gets about a 90 percent cut for plagiarism or when groups that admit embezzlement, such as the Queer Student Cultural Center, receive any kind of punishment.