Student Organizations: Legal Rights & Responsibilities Essay

Student Organizations: Legal Rights & Responsibilities Essay

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According to Kaplin and Lee (2006), collegiate student organizations give students an opportunity to obtain and develop leadership skills and to pursue assorted non-academic interests. It also supplements their formal education with secondary academic programming (Kaplin & Lee, 2006). Because of these reasons, students often are encouraged to join a student organization. In addition to joining such a group and because of the First Amendment, students have a right to organize and join these groups and college administrators are obliged by law to allow them that right. This is mostly true for students who attend public schools. Students at private colleges do not have a constitutional right to organize a student organization (Snider, 2004). However, many private colleges will provide organizational rights to students through regulations of their own and in such a case, the private school’s administration may choose to be guided by First Amendment principles as it relates to these student organizations (Kaplin & Lee, 2006).

Through the history of student organizations, many court cases have been tried where a party disagreed with a basic principle as it related to a student organization, or where a party came in direct violation of a specific rule implemented by the school, in regards to a student organization. Some areas of interest include; (a) the right to be recognized, (b) the right to associate, (c) rights involving discrimination, (d) and rights associated with religion and free speech. This paper will take a brief look at a few such cases; it will also explore different rights entrusted to students who belong to student organizations.
Recognition, Association, & Funding
In Healy v. James, 408 U....

... middle of paper ...

...f higher education. Wiley. com.
Lake, P. F. (2013). The rights and responsibilities of the modern university: Who assumes the risks of college Life? (2nd ed.) Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Lake, P. F. (2011). Foundations of higher education law and policy: Basic legal rules, concepts, and principles for student affairs. Washington, DC: NASPA.
Schoettle, F. P. (1971). The equal protection clause in public education. Columbia Law Review, 71(8), 1355-1419.
Snider, M. A. (2004). Viewpoint discrimination by public unversities: student religious organizations and violations of university nondiscrimination policies. Wash. & Lee L. Rev., 61, 841
Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 102 S. Ct. 269, 70 L. Ed. 2d 440 (1981). Retrieved from:,41

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