Sunday, August 14, 2005

Campaigns, Campuses, and Partisanship

The exciting conclusion of Partisanship Weekend.

As I wrote earlier, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that Minnesota's restrictions on judicial candidates speaking to partisan organizations are unconstitutional. The reasoning was, in part, that the restrictions were underinclusive, since candidates for the bench were free to speak to other ideological organizations, just not partisan ones. This is further demonstration of my contention that many people mistakenly believe that non-partisan equals non-ideological.

This confusion about partisanship also exists on college campuses in the form of mandatory student fees to ideological student groups. Both the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have changed their eligbility standards to allow partisan student groups to apply for funding. Not coincidentally, the changes at both schools happened after the student fee allocations were challenged in court, resulting in two Supreme Court rulings.

Locally, the University of Minnesota still clings to its prohibition against partisan groups receiving student fees. During my tenure as a student, and shortly thereafter, this prohibition against partisanship (albeit unwritten) was used as a pretext to deny funding to conservatives. Many ideological groups on the left get consistent funding throughout the years, however. Last school year, a republican student group was denied funding based on this unwritten rule. When the group pointed out that it was not affiliated with the state or national party, the University asked for a letter from Ken Mehlman confirming this fact. One wonders whether, if they had obtained such a letter from a party official, the University might have used this as proof of some nefarious connection.

The pattern is clear, from non-profit status, to judicial campaigns, to student fees, liberals use underinclusive and unwritten rules to stifle the speech of conservatives.


Blogger Brian said...

The Campus Republican fees request was thrown out within an hour of being submitted, by Student Fees Advisor Aaron Asmundson. It never even made it to the Fees Committee.

August 14, 2005 11:49 PM  
Blogger Aaron B. Solem said...

Wrong link to my blog -

Here's the post

August 15, 2005 12:28 AM  
Blogger Aaron B. Solem said...

Here is the part you were meaning-

Speaking of fees and liberal SAO advisers, in E-mails obtained by Peace In Our Time from two sources not named Karl Rove, it appears that Tony Diggs did not allow Campus Republicans to apply for fees pending a letter from Ken Melhman, chair of the RNC. Despite the fact that Campus Republicans have no affiliation with any political party, Tony, the director of student activities, wanted a letter proving CARs were not affiliated with the Republican Party. So, let me get this straight – you expect a party official from a political party the group is not affiliated with to write a letter to you, so that group can receive fees? Tony’s been at the U of M for awhile now, and any casual observer would know that CARs have no dealings whatsoever with any arm of the Republican Party.

August 15, 2005 12:28 AM  

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