The Student, and the First Amendment, and the Mandatory Fee
Posted: 9 Nov 2003
This note examines the controversy surrounding mandatory student activity fees. The note first deals with the constitutional underpinnings of this issue by first recognizing the universities' educational interests and then outlining the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association, concluding that the First Amendment does not guarantee subsidized speech. Next, the article analyzes Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which recognized an individual's First Amendment right against compulsory contributions to political or ideological causes that the individual finds objectionable. The note then examines the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals decisions in which compelled funding was upheld, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals case in which compelled funding was struck down. The note further analyzes mandatory student fees under the strict scrutiny standard applied by the California Supreme Court in Smith v. Regents of the University of California. The note then discusses Southworth v. Grebe, where the court applied a three-part analysis. Finally, the author recommends a strict scrutiny analysis for First Amendment challenges to mandatory student activity fees and discusses the consequences of such an analysis.
Keywords: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of belief, subsidized speech, compelled funding, strict scrutiny, activity fee, mandatory student fees, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Smith v. Regents of the University of California
JEL Classification: I2, I22, I28, K00, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation