CSU Executive Order 1068: A seemingly harmless document that when enforced as official California State University policy has brought nothing but despair, frustration and isolation to many venerated student organizations affiliated with its campuses.
This policy is wreaking havoc as many student organizations are being forced to choose between compromising the values and beliefs of their group to maintain campus recognition, or stand firm and be derecognized; this policy is promoting diversity within student groups instead of protecting diversity among student groups.
Despite the significant problems created by the order, CSU administrators have stood in staunch support with unwavering commitment. They claim this policy is mandated by state law, or part of a state law having been around for decades, but this simply isn’t true.
There is no state or federal law, or court decision that mandates the California State University enact and enforce an “all-comers” policy, or any variation thereof.
While anti-discrimination policies have been around for decades to prevent discrimination against protected classes (such as race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) they don’t provide legal support for the new mandates created by the order.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision states all-comers policies are allowed, but doesn’t state they are required, desirable, effective or even practical, simply because they aren’t.
Supporters of the order frequently claim public funding and campus resources should not go to clubs with restrictive policies, but this argument is a red herring.
If CSU campuses decide to fund student groups and make campus resources (e.g. meeting rooms) available to them, the campus can’t then decide what viewpoints they agree or don’t agree with, and correspondingly, who should and shouldn’t be entitled to these benefits.
Campuses must extend these benefits to everyone or no one, and therein a diversity of ideas is promoted. Universities do not become more diverse or inclusive by discriminating against some groups because of the restrictions they wish to impose on those that have freely decided to become leaders in the group.
With CSU administrators refusing to budge or compromise on this issue, some have taken the next steps of action. Our group, CSU SOFA, recently endorsed the Student Freedom of Association Act introduced by Shannon Grove in the California State Assembly (csusofa.org/press-releases.html).
This legislation is a positive step toward protecting student organizations on public university campuses in California.
If passed this legislation would mandate the California State University eliminate their policy, and forbid a similar policy from being created in the University of California or California Community Colleges System. A hearing on this legislation has been scheduled for today.
We hope you may be willing to take action on this issue, possibly by joining the CSU SOFA coalition (csusofa.org) and/or by expressing support for Grove’s act.
Help us protect the rights and existence of many well-established student groups as we try to get the California State University back on track toward truly being a student-focused leader in higher education.
Nate Honeycutt studies psychology as a graduate at San Diego State. His brother Logan Honeycutt is a second-year engineering major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.