Forcing Some to Pay for the Free Speech of Others
Colleges love to compete by freely disclosing to students, and potential students, the costs of tuition and room and board.
They are often, however, less inclined to advertise mandatory student fees used to subsidize various academic, infrastructure, and student activities. Fees are typically collected for chemistry labs, the library, computer labs, new campus building, student health, athletics, and to fund student organizations. The fees are usually approved and justified by the governing board as relevant to the student’s overall educational experience because they are used to promote campus diversity and extracurricular activity. The fees, even to groups that support on and off-campus political activity, are said to be germane to the University’s educational mission. Some governing boards contend that to deny mandatory fees to student organizations that promote on campus and off-campus political activity violates that organization’s freedom of speech.