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Anti-abortion student group sues CSU

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A group of students at Colorado State University is taking the school to federal court, accusing officials of stifling free speech.

Students who are against abortion said the university withheld grant money from their group because of their views.

The grant money comes from mandatory student activity fees, according to the lawsuit.

The anti-abortion group, CSU Students For Life, applied for money in September to bring a speaker to campus. Students said the university denied that request because the speaker did not "appear entirely unbiased."

"This case is about free speech," said Emily Faulkner, president of CSU Students For Life.

Faulkner said the controversy started after her group applied for a CSU diversity grant to host a speaker from the Equal Rights Institute to discuss abortion.

According to the lawsuit, university officials said funding was denied because they worried people from varying sides of the issue won’t necessarily feel affirmed in attending the event.

But Faulkner said the university routinely funds events for other groups without making that requirement.

"I want this to actually change what happens at this university," Faulkner said. "I want, what we're doing with this lawsuit, to give people the courage to stand up against their universities that take away and stifle their First Amendment rights."

CSU students, with varying opinions on abortion, said they were surprised the university denied funding to the group based on the requirement alleged in the lawsuit.

The university said it does not typically comment on pending litigation and had not issued a statement as of late Tuesday.

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