Regents decline review in UCCS student body president case

By Staff

The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Tuesday declined to review a decision by UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak in a case involving David Williams, the outgoing student body president.

The vote was 7-2, with regents Jim Geddes (R-Sedalia) and Tom Lucero (R-Loveland) dissenting.

In October, Williams declined to sign a funding request for Spectrum, a student gay, lesbian and transgender group that had sought financial support from the Student Government Association for National Coming Out Day.

Spectrum later received the funding, but charged Williams with violating viewpoint neutrality, a concept designed to ensure the First Amendment rights of students.

On an appeal from the student judicial board, the chancellor determined that Williams violated the principles of viewpoint neutrality contained in the student constitution. Williams claimed he didn't violate the student constitution because the funding went through anyway without his signature. Shockley-Zalabak ruled that although his conduct violated the principle of viewpoint neutrality, it did not result in harm to Spectrum, and she imposed no discipline. She suggested that the students had adequate remedies in the political processes. Williams, whose term ends in June, failed in his recent bid for re-election.

President Benson affirmed the chancellor's decision, leading Williams to ask the board to review the case. Geddes brought forward a resolution to grant Williams an appeal.

"This case is important and carries strong implications for future students' First Amendment rights," Geddes wrote in a statement in support of hearing the appeal, which was read at the meeting. Geddes was unable to attend in person, but participated by speakerphone.

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