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Constitutional Law — freedom of speech — college student groups

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//October 27, 2011//

Constitutional Law — freedom of speech — college student groups

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//October 27, 2011//

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Constitutional Law — freedom of speech — college student groups

The chancellor of a university is not personally liable for viewpoint discrimination by the student board in allocating student fees to groups.

“CFACT argues that Martin’s denial of the appeal is a form of personal involvement that renders her liable for damages. However, under § 1983, a governmental official is liable only for his or her own ‘misconduct.’ Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Although Martin had some personal involvement in the ultimate denial of funding to CFACT, CFACT does not argue that her involvement included unconstitutional misconduct. That is, CFACT does not contend that Martin’s decision was itself based on her distaste for CFACT’s viewpoint (or preference for WISPIRG’s), that she knew that certain SSFC members had engaged in viewpoint discrimination but decided to turn a blind eye to their discrimination, or that she was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk that viewpoint discrimination had occurred. Rather, the worst that CFACT attributes to Martin is a failure to detect and correct viewpoint discrimination that may have been committed by SSFC members. Such a failure is not itself a violation of the rights articulated in Southworth and Southworth II, and it does not amount to personal involvement in the constitutional violations allegedly committed by the SSFC members. Accordingly, Chancellor Martin is not liable for any damages that CFACT may have incurred as a result of the denial of GSSF funding for 2009-10.”

09-C-514 Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow – Madison v. The Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

W.D.Wis., Adelman, J.

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