\Arizona State University has been sued by an anti-abortion student group which alleges the university discriminated against students trying to voice their opinions on the issue.
ASU Students for Life filed the suit in federal court Monday, contending the university required it to buy insurance and cut through mountains of red tape to win approval for two events this year.
The suit seeks a court order limiting ASU’s ability to restrict its on-campus events.
The accusations were rejected by the university’s top lawyer, Nancy Tribbensee, who said ASU has not stopped or delayed any of the group’s activities.
Students for Life have held many events on campus without problems, but say in the suit that efforts to hold a January event using 18-foot-tall panels showing graphic images to argue that life begins at conception ran into trouble.
The group’s suit says they squabbled with ASU officials over the display’s size, payments to rent space and insurance coverage the university required to protect the school from a lawsuit related to the display.
“It’s not a very big leap of logic to see that they’re kind of making up all these rules as they go along and forcing them against this student group,” said Heather Gebelin Hacker, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale-based law firm that provides legal services on Christian issues.
Tribbensee said the requirements placed upon Students for Life had nothing to do with its politics and she worked with the group to secure space for their exhibit. She said the large size of the panels, not their content, prompted the university to ask for the insurance.
“We would have done that for everyone,” Tribbensee said. “It didn’t matter what it said.”
The panels were provided by Justice For All, an anti-abortion nonprofit organization, and displayed on campus Jan. 23.
“This exhibit is something that administrators don’t want on their campus and they go to any lengths to keep it off,” Hacker said
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