CSU SOFA seeks to unify California State University ("CSU") student organizations and other concerned individuals to advocate with a unified voice for comprehensive reform pertaining to the new requirements for CSU clubs mandated by CSU Executive Order 1068.
Since September 2013 we have been working to bring commonsense change/compromise to CSU Executive Order 1068 ("EO 1068"). Many student organizations within the CSU have or will be negatively impacted by unnecessary requirements created by EO 1068 (and the list is growing), but few have realized this and sought to take action. CSU SOFA was launched in September 2014 to propel our advocacy efforts to the next level.
The crux of the issue is that the EO 1068 requires all leadership and membership in every campus-recognized student organization be open to all students. This is extremely problematic for it renders student organizations helpless in protecting the mission and purpose their group was founded to pursue. All belief and advocacy-based student groups are at risk. This includes religious groups and political groups (Republican, Democrat, Environmental, etcetera), or special interest-type group.
CONTRARY TO CSU ADMINISTRATION TALKING POINTS, THESE NEW POLICIES ARE NOT "MANDATED BY STATE LAW" OR BY FEDERAL LAW.
CSU Administrators have been unwilling to budge or compromise on this policy despite the significant negative effects it has been having on many groups. Many student groups who refuse on principle to adhere to the policy have already been kicked off CSU campuses. It appears more and more that the enforcement of this policy is coming down to discrimination in the name of diversity.
It is critical, moving forward, that CSU student organizations start working as a unified voice for comprehensive change on this issue. Individually on our own campuses we can try to enact change, but unified we can have a stronger voice. CSU Administrators must be held accountable to those they are paid to serve (after all, through our student fees and/or taxes we pay their salaries!). It is abundantly clear that this policy, which is not mandated by state or federal law, does not serve the best interest of students or student organizations, and therefore must be eliminated or significantly modified to remedy the significant problems it is creating.
Take a moment to read the articles linked here to learn more about the issue, and to sign the petition(s) to join our coalition and work toward commonsense solutions on this issue.
SOFA Coalition Founded:
- This new policy detailed in EO 1068 mandates diversity within student groups instead of protecting diversity AMONG student groups.
- EO 1068 policy on leadership/membership = "Discrimination in the name of diversity."
- EO 1068 renders the university powerless to stop members of rival or opposing student groups from joining, spying on, taking over, or simply diluting the message espoused by other groups. Though many universities are jumping on the “all-comers" bandwagon, there is no legal requirement or precedent holding that “all-comers" policies are required, desirable, effective, or even practical.
- Diversity is created when students take the initiative to form organizations that reflect their interests, passions, and goals, and use these groups to advocate for their particular cause, NOT when they are pushed into joining and washing out the mission and goals of currently established groups. If students do not like the clubs currently active at a campus, or if they do not agree with the clubs currently active at a campus (e.g. there is a Republican club but no Democrat club), then they can create their own club (which is quite easy!).
- As argued by FIRE (see link above), university or system regulations on antidiscrimination should not trump the protections of the First Amendment. The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause combined with First Amendment protections for free speech and free association—not to mention decency and common sense—should permit student organizations to use their mission and principles to determine membership or at the very least select leaders.
- By adhering with the new policies created by EO 1068 many student organizations are made quite vulnerable for they are now required to accept leaders or members who may disagree with the basic tenants of their group. This policy makes it such that a campus vegetarian club would be required to admit butchers and hunters to join their ranks, that the campus PRIDE group allow students who oppose homosexuality, and that libertarians allow communists to become members, Democrats allow Republicans to run for officer positions, or vice versa. Not complying results in being swiftly kicked off campus. As stated by FIRE, “if controversial, or even despised groups cannot be permitted to express and have protection for the expression for their views in the marketplace of ideas found on a university campus, then freedom of association and freedom of expression are in serious jeopardy.”
- The risk of a "hostile takeover" is a serious and pervasive risk--it is not hypothetical or unlikely as CSU Administrators attempt to suggest. In our politically charged climate nothing is off limits, so student organizations should be afforded basic protections encapsulated in membership or leadership restrictions.
- Leadership and/or membership restrictions serve for the preservation and protection of groups' mission, values, and objectives. Leadership and/or membership restrictions are a fail-safe for self-preservation and continuity.
- This policy impairs the intellectual diversity and cultural diversity among groups that is vital on campus, both of which are also key values of the university’s mission (Cal Poly CAP 110.1). As summed up by FIRE, “a liberal education progresses in great measure through learning from different groups with distinct identities and opinions as these groups express their unique messages on campus. Diluting those messages through an "all-comers" policy contradicts rather than expands the marketplace of ideas across campus.”