I’m not sure if the Daily is going to print this letter, but the author sent it to me and I have decided to post it here:
“To the Daily,
On March 25, Laura Davis’s article, U’ should provide academic instruction, not unrelated student services, strongly supported the current cuts to various student groups and accessories. Her reason, “The University’s job is to provide students today with the classes, the professors and the buildings to hold classes in and for which students pay tuition,” Unfortunately, this reasoning falls to two arguments.
When compared with the University of Michigan 2003-2004 Application’s Mission Statement, it becomes obvious why the university funds student group services. According to the application; “The University of Michigan seeks to enroll and graduate applicants who will develop and grow educationally and personally and will contribute to the University community, the State of Michigan, and the broader society. It is the University’s experience and judgment that this mix of students will foster the vibrant educational atmosphere that provides the best educational experience for all students.” In other words, the university supports education both within and outside of university classrooms through recruiting those who can add to the ambiance of the university, an educational aspect not caused directly by the university faculty. Even if one doesn’t accept the university’s mission statement, constitutional law should suffice.
American constitutional law upholds this mission statement. In the famous decision, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public institutions can charge students for extracurricular activities that are funded with unbiased intention. In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion of the court, he wrote; “The First Amendment permits a public university to charge its students an activity fee used to fund a program to facilitate extracurricular student speech if the program is viewpoint neutral.” Expounding in the opinion of the court, he wrote; “The University may determine that its mission is well served if students have the means to engage in dynamic discussions of philosophical, religious, scientific, social, and political subjects in their extracurricular campus life outside the lecture hall – it is entitled to impose a mandatory fee to sustain an open dialogue to these ends.”
Don’t let Davis’s title, Co-Chair of Young Americans for Freedom, fool you. The name, in this context, is used as a façade for a counterintuitive purpose: to narrow the definition of academics. Contrary to her title, if Davis favored true freedom, she would allow the University to define academia, instead of imposing her conservative agenda-based definition to academia and its so-called limits. Or, she could simply accept the Supreme Court decision.
LSA Student Government Representative “