Resistbot Petition: NO Discrimination in Missouri Universities (Mo. only)

An open letter to State Governors & Legislatures (Mo. only)

NO Discrimination in Missouri Universities

14 so far! Help us get to 25 signers!

I am writing to strongly encourage you to oppose HB1518 (Hudson), which proposes an exemption for religious student organizations and other "belief-based" student groups from non-discrimination policies in public higher education institutions. This bill should be rejected due to its potential to legitimize discriminatory practices. Student organizations play a vital role in campus life, contributing to overall student satisfaction and success, as evidenced by research. The implementation of robust non-discrimination policies ensures that all students have equal access to various organizations and the opportunity to explore diverse ideas and identities. To prevent discrimination on campus, promote equality, and foster inclusive practices for student organizations, many public colleges and universities have adopted "accept-all-comers" policies. These policies typically withhold funding, derived from a mandatory student activity fee, and official recognition from student groups that do not welcome all students. Contrary to these policies, HB1518 undermines the efforts to prevent discrimination on campus by allowing clubs to engage in discriminatory practices. For instance, a Christian student group could reject a student based on their sexual orientation or single-parent status. This bill may even provide an avenue for a white supremacist group to demand university funding and recognition. It's important to note that this legislation is not compelled by the First Amendment. Any student club can gain recognition and access funds by adhering to the school's nondiscrimination policy. If a club chooses to impose membership and leadership requirements conflicting with the school policy, it will not be silenced or expelled from campus; rather, it will simply not receive official recognition and funding. In fact, the Supreme Court, in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, upheld an "accept-all-comers" policy against claims that it violated the religious freedom of Christian student groups. The Court clarified that these policies do not infringe upon the First Amendment because the denial of benefits is based on the group's conduct, not their views. It is imperative that the Missouri legislature does not endorse divisive legislation that promotes discrimination within the state's public higher education institutions. The power of these institutions to protect students from discrimination should not be undermined, and it is crucial that public tax dollars and student activity fees only support groups that are open to all students. Thank you for considering this significant matter.

▶ Created on February 3 by MO Residents

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