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Thomas Jefferson recognized that "to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical."[1] At the same time, our nation's universities preserve a longstanding tradition of tolerating and even encouraging the propagation of all sorts of disbelieved opinions. We are asked today, in a case that involves competing concerns of the First Amendment, to resolve the conflict that occurs when Jefferson's "tyrannical" compulsion occurs in a collegiate setting. On the one hand, university students oppose as compelled speech and association their college's allotment of a portion of their mandatory student activity fee to an organization whose speech and actions they reject. On the other hand, the university, by disbursing the fee proceeds to a variety of campus groups, aims to foster spirited and uninhibited debate about campus and public issues. We hold that a state university may constitutionally allocate students' activity fees to a group with whose speech some students disagree, as long as that organization spends the equivalent of the students' contribution on campus and thus serves the university's substantial interests in collecting the fee. We also hold that a campus group may not define its membership to include all fee paying students, but may extend membership only to those who seek it.


957 F.2d 991 (1992)

Thomas W. CARROLL, Robert J. Carroll, Michael E. McChesney, Emanuel J. Panos, Edward J. Priola, Craig J. Rucker, Robert T. Schmidlin, Beth Turkovic Garfunkel, Christine McClellan, Christopher Sandor and Susanne Ziegler, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


Donald M. BLINKEN, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, George L. Collins, Jr., D. Clinton Dominick, Judith Lasher Duken, Arnold B. Gardner, Gurstin D. Goldin, John L.S. Holloman, Jr., Nan Johnson, Everette Joseph, Judith Davidson Moyers, Edward V. Mele, Victor Marrero, Rosemary Salomone, Edgar A. Sandman, Thomas Vanarsdale, Darwin R. Wales, in their capacities as trustees of the State University of New York, Jerome Komisar, in his capacity as Acting Chancellor of the State University of New York, Vincent O'Leary, Clifford D. Clark, Alice Chandler, in his or her capacity as President and chief administrative officer of, respectively, the State University of New York at Albany, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the State University of New York at New Paltz, New York Public Interest Research Group, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 698, Docket 91-7877.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Argued January 10, 1992.

Decided February 13, 1992.

New York Law School location: File #1408, Box #129