Four years ago today, Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar took a stand for liberty at their public university, or in this case, their Institute. While students at Georgia Institute of Technology, Malhotra and Sklar were subject to discrimination because of their religious and conservative views. Their experiences were not isolated, but designed by an administration hostile to free speech. Georgia Tech policy prohibited “acts of intolerance,” limited student free speech to the small amphitheater on campus, preferred some religious denominations to others in campus training programs, and prohibited religious students from gaining equal access to student fees (even though the student fees were mandatory). When these policies and their experiences became intolerable, they sued.
The lawsuit eventually ended, but not until the speech code was removed, the student speech zone eliminated, and the religious discrimination stopped. Along the way, did the campus community rally to their support in favor of free speech? No. Instead, people sent death threats, students started a group to intimidate Malhotra, and the administration created a council called “Finding Common Ground” to dialogue about diversity and criticize the efforts of these two women.
Four years later, Malhotra and Sklar will speak tonight about their experiences and the success of their lawsuit at Georgia Tech. Much was accomplished by these women, but there is still work to be done. Despite Supreme Court case law to the contrary, Georgia Tech still believes it can exclude religious activities from student fee funding. Who will be the next person to stand for liberty at Tech?