College walks back rejection of pro-life group...but only after national chapter threatens to sue

  • After originally rejecting the formation of a campus chapter of Students for Life, a community college in Tennessee is walking back its decision.
  • The national organization claims the school provided bogus reasons for rejecting the group, before ultimately changing its mind.

A Tennessee Community College reversed its rejection of a Students for Life chapter on campus after the university chapter reached out to the national organization for help.

According to a press release from Students for Life, Motlow State Community College in Tennessee had initially rejected an application for the school to recognize the chapter on the campus before the national chapter contacted the college “to push back and point out [the school’s] flawed decision.”

“I pointed out that anyone was welcome to come to our meetings, but the group is pro-life."   

Motlow State initially received the group’s application on Sept. 9 and told the group that the decision process would take around two weeks. The group maintains that all of the paperwork had been submitted and that another group on campus was approved in just a few days.

The group says they did not hear back from the school until Nov. 12, when the application was denied. On November 14, the national chapter reached out to the college for further information about the decision.

[RELATED: Christian univ. says it does 'not support abortion'...but rejects pro-life group.]

“The school originally said the group was denied for three reasons,” Students for Life Director of Communications Matt Lamb told Campus Reform.

“The school claimed that the student group was not separate from the national group,” Lamb explained, adding that the school also claimed the group was “excluding those who weren’t pro-life.”

Lamb said the third reason the school provided was that “the group tabled at an organization fair without being registered, when in fact a faculty member that was in charge of the organization fair gave us verbal permission.”

“I pointed out that anyone was welcome to come to our meetings, but the group is pro-life,” Lamb added.

Lamb also stated that, in rebuttal to the issue of how the group was not separate, the student group was separate from the national group, and that there are a “few requirements for a group to use the name Students for Life.”

[RELATED: Pro-life group celebrates legal victory over 'unconstitutional' campus policy.]

After the national chapter reached out to the college to counter these claims and, according to the release, “bring up the possibility of legal action,” the school reopened the application and asked for small edits to the documentation of the club. On November 25, the decision had been formally reversed, and the group was approved.

Campus Reform reached out to Motlow State for additional comment, and was sent a copy of the student organization handbook along with a statement from Motlow State Chief of Staff Marvin Thompson who insisted that “the organization's initial constitution did not meet the requirements outlined in the policy,” and added, “once the requirements were modified to align with institutional policies, the club received approval.”

Thompson also noted that the college’s “approval process, policy, and requests for modifications” were the only factors that allowed for the college to approve the application.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3



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Jesse Stiller
Jesse Stiller | New Jersey Senior Campus Correspondent

Jesse Stiller is a New Jersey Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform. He studies at the College of New Jersey, where he studies journalism and writes for his school newspaper, the Signal.

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