Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 25 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Herman “the Cripple”
home iconNews
line break icon

Georgia Tech to pay $50K for disinviting pro-life speaker Alveda King

GEORGIA TECH

Mistercontributer | CC BY-SA 3.0

John Burger - published on 09/15/20 - updated on 09/15/20

The university originally denied funding for King's visit, saying the speaker, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., was "inherently religious."

The Georgia Institute of Technology has settled with a campus pro-life student group over a dispute involving Martin Luther King’s niece.

Georgia Tech denied funding to its chapter of Students for Life of America because their invited speaker, Alveda King, was “inherently religious,” thus presenting a constitutional dilemma for the state-funded university.

Students for Life took issue — and filed a federal lawsuit. Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal group that represented Students for Life, said student government meeting records showed student leaders voiced concerns about King’s views on abortion and same-sex marriage before denying the funding application, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Georgia Tech eventually agreed to change the policies that allowed its student government to deny funding for King’s visit. The settlement also provided for $50,000 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

King spoke at Georgia Tech October 1, 2019. Members of the SFLA chapter had to pool their money to pay over $2000 out of pocket for the event, said Caleb Dalton, legal counsel at ADF.

“Public universities are supposed to welcome diverse viewpoints and can’t treat some student groups worse than others simply because they disagree with what the students have to say,” Dalton said in a press release. “Georgia Tech’s previous policy allowed discrimination against Ms. King because she was accused of leading an ‘inherently religious’ life. Under such a standard, MLK himself would not be welcome on campus. Thankfully, by changing these policies, the university is respecting our clients’ First Amendment freedoms and better living up to its duty to offer a marketplace of ideas, where diverse viewpoints should be encouraged, not shut down.”

According to ADF, students at Georgia Tech, including members of Students for Life, pay mandatory student activity fees, which the Student Government Association uses to fund all other organizations’ events on campus. However, when the pro-life club sought funding for their speaking event featuring King, SGA members “interrogated the club on the content and viewpoints that King would present at the event,” the law firm said in a press release. The student government denied the funding request stating that, because King has been involved in religious ministries, her life was “inherently religious,” and they could not separate that from the event about civil rights and abortion.

The university issued a statement to Aleteia, saying, “The First Amendment guarantees of free expression are an essential cornerstone to the advancement of knowledge. Georgia Tech is pleased with the policies, as they reflect our commitment to upholding these important principles.”

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins commented: “Courageous student leaders across the nation face real opposition from their schools because they choose to stand up for the defenseless and peacefully educate their fellow students about protecting the preborn. The Constitution is clear that public universities can’t discriminate against students for their political or religious beliefs, and we are hopeful that Georgia Tech’s decisive policy changes will set an example for universities around the country to uphold all students’ constitutional rights.”

Tags:
Pro-life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
2
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
5
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.