- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The president of the University of Northern Iowa has overridden an earlier decision by the school’s student government that had denied recognition of a student anti-abortion group.

UNI President Mark Nook ruled Sunday that Students for Life of America will be allowed to form a local chapter on campus, the Des Moines Register reported. The student government had earlier denied the group’s application, saying it could create a hostile environment and would not meet the campus’ “good faith” policy. The group then appealed last week to Nook.

In his decision, Nook said the student government overlooked the school’s policies protecting free speech and indicated it’s denial appeared to be based on “the content of the student organization’s viewpoint, speech and assumed potential activities.”

“Universities exist to give students and all members of the university community an opportunity to wrestle with a vast diversity of ideas and opinions, to challenge their perception of their own identity and the beliefs and opinions of others, and to row in their understanding of natural and social systems,” Nook wrote in a letter to students government leaders and a representative of the Students for Life group explaining his decision.

Registration of a student group grants members the ability to reserve rooms on campus and request funds for activities like lectures and publications, among other privileges.

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