Washington University: Mandatory University Viewpoint
The Student Bar Association (SBA) at Washington University School of Law voted 27-6, with 4 abstentions, to recognize Law Students Pro-Life. This vote overturned two earlier decisions that denied recognition to Law Students Pro-Life, the critical first vote having been 27-10-1 against the group. In a September 9, 2002 letter of rejection to Law Students Pro-Life, the SBA termed "the catching issue" what they labeled "the narrowness of the group's interests and goals." The SBA "felt that the organization was not touching on all possible Pro-Life issues" because it did not have an "anti-death penalty" position in its constitution. FIRE wrote the chancellor of Washington University and the dean of the law school objecting because the SBA had engaged in a double standard and had violated Washington University's commitment to free speech and free religion. After receiving no response, FIRE took the case public, formed an alliance with the Eastern Missouri ACLU and organized a petition signed by professors, law students, undergraduates, and private citizens from around the country. "FIRE's advocacy made all the difference," said Jordan Siverd, chairman of Law Students Pro-Life.
- "Victory for Conscience and Legal Equality at Washington University, Saint Louis," October 15, 2002: In a dramatic and complete reversal, the Student Bar Association at Washington University School of Law voted 27-6, with 4 abstentions, to recognize Law Students Pro-Life. This vote overturned two earlier decisions that denied recognition to the student group, the critical first vote having been 27-10-1 against the group. FIRE advised Law Students Pro-Life throughout the process and organized a widespread campaign to restore the students to their rights. The University and the School of Law were unable to defend in public what they practiced in private. FIRE wishes that they had acted, at the start, from moral principle rather than from expedience. Nonetheless, it is a great victory for liberty.
- "FIRE's Petition to Washington University, St. Louis," October 14, 2002
- "Open Letter From the ACLU and FIRE," October 11, 2002
- "Law School Dean Joel Seligman's Response to Critics," October 10, 2002
- "Double Standard at Washington University, Saint Louis," October 9, 2002: The official Student Bar Association (SBA) at Washington University in Saint Louis, acting for the University, has twice denied recognition to Law Students Pro-Life. It refused recognition because the students would not adopt the SBA’s view of what their political and moral views ought to be. Administrators have refused to reverse a scandalous decision that disgraces a great university. Stay tuned
- "FIRE’s letter to WUSL Chancellor Mark Stephen Wrighton," September 30, 2002
- "SBA President Elliott Friedman’s Letter to Law Students Pro-Life," September 10, 2002
- "Ideology is the Issue on Campus not Equality,"
by Michael Tremoglie, MensNewsDaily.com, December 10, 2003
- "Anti-Abortion Group Wins Recognition at Washington U.,"
by Lindsay Bosslett, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 25, 2002
- "Law School Officially Recognizes Pro-Life Student Group,"
by Jim Brown, PCA News, October 24, 2002
- "Washington University Law School Club Feud is Resolved,"
by Peter Page, Law.com, October 23, 2002
- "A Place For 'Wrong' View on Campus,"
by Cathy Young, The Boston Globe, October 21, 2002
- "Student Bar Group OKs Pro-lifers,"
by Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times, October 17, 2002
- "Pro-life Students Try for Recognition,"
by Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times, October 14, 2002
- "Exclusion on campus,"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 2002
- "WU Law Students Maintain Rejection of Anti-abortion Group,"
by Susan Thomson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 2002
- "The Corner at the National Review Online: Latest from Washington U,"
by Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online, October 11, 2002
- "Anti-Abortion Group Fights for Official Status at Washington U. in St. Louis Law School,"
by Lindsay Bosslett, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 10, 2002
- "Pro-Life Group Likely to Win Law School Clash,"
by Robert Bluey, CNS News, October 10, 2002
- "Washington University Muzzles Pro-lifers,"
NewsMax, October 9, 2002
- "Prospects Improve for Pro-life Law Group,"
by Lou Marano, United Press International, October 9, 2002