I was glad to read in today’s Daily that the Michigan Student Assembly voted to fund buses to Washington, D.C. so students could participate in the March for Women to be held this April 25. Reproductive rights for all are one of our most important constitutional rights, and students should mobilize to fight back the attacks on our basic freedoms launched by the Bush administration, a right-wing judiciary, and some of our elected officials.
However, I was concerned by some parts of the article which seemed to suggest the specter of “viewpoint neutrality” still hung over the Assembly. According to the Supreme Court’s 2000 ruling in Fry v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, only the allocation of funding to student groups must be done on a “viewpoint neutral” basis. No, student government can’t withhold funding from student organizations for political reasons, but I believe the student government as a whole can and should take firm political positions, and can use money not earmarked for student organizations for political purposes.
As an elected, representative body, I fully expect them to take political points of view: if they didn’t they wouldn’t be doing their job. When the administration of Matt Nolan and Jessica Cash forced through a resolution supporting the U.S.’s bombing campaign in Afghanistan without quorum, I was upset they were violating our internal rules, not that they were taking a point of view. I’ve written about this before, see my “Argument for a Political Student Government.”
> See Daily: “MSA funds buses to abortion rights march”