Tuesday, April 06, 2010

ASU ahead of U of A this year: PIRG vote to happen.

Via the Desert Lamp, news that ASU students will vote on a PIRG fee today and tomorrow.

Reasons attendance at the university should not be bundled with a fee to pay for political activism are obvious, and the ways in which Naderite PIRG is both wasteful and insidious are well-documented.

As is the non-legality of deciding student fees by plebiscite. See FIRE's whitepaper on student fees for an overview. The relevant precedents are Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217 (2000) and Amidon v. Student Ass’n of the State Univ. of N.Y. 05-6623-cv. Also worthwhile reading is Gregory Sanford's law review article, "Your opinion really does not matter: how the use of referenda in funding public university student groups violates constitutional free speech principles", from the Notre Dame Law Review (83 Notre Dame L. Rev. 845 (2007-2008)).

ASU's student newspaper has come out with a clear argument against the PIRG fee, one that thoughtful students of all political beliefs should appreciate. Often, student newspaper editorials are more an indicator of campus opinion than opinion-maker; nevertheless, if the PIRG fee passes, ASU students should probably get on the phone with ACLU-AZ and FIRE to pursue an airtight 1st Amendment claim.

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