Students involved in “Advocacy and Awareness” groups at John Hopkins will see a massive cut in university funding in the coming year: where once such groups received about the same funding per year as other groups (a few thousand dollars), they will now be receiving as little as $300.

Some say the source of these cuts are the student government’s obstinate refusal to give the JHU Voice for Life group any money at all. So, they decided to take every political advocacy group down with it.

Sarah McLaughlin at FIRE reports:

Advocacy Groups Face Discrimination at Johns Hopkins University

Torch readers may remember that in our most recent case at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) put itself on the wrong side of free speech when it wrongly denied the recognition of the student group JHU Voice for Life. Unfortunately, the SGA has been at it again in recent months, and this time its actions threaten an even wider swath of student expression at JHU.

Despite facing a severe backlash, JHU’s SGA reclassified three student organizations—the College Republicans, the College Democrats, and the Hopkins Feminists—this past spring. Formerly classified as “Special Interests and Hobby” groups, these groups joined JHU’s Hopkins J Street U, Voice for Choice, Voice for Life, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Students for Environmental Action in the “Advocacy and Awareness” category.

Why should we care? Thanks to a bill passed by the SGA in April, Advocacy and Awareness groups could potentially receive significantly less funding than non-political and other groups. The bill changed the SGA’s bylaws so that the Student Activities Commission (SAC), which serves as the funding board for the SGA and student organizations, provides variable annual grants only to the following categories of approved student groups: Culture, Performing Arts, Publications and Journals, Special Interest and Hobby, and Religious and Spiritual. The bill singled out Advocacy and Awareness groups for a different funding process, making them eligible only for a $300 annual allotment instead of an annual grant from which they could receive hundreds or thousands more.

While all students organizations at JHU are still eligible to receive monthly SAC grants, Advocacy and Awareness groups’ budgets in 2014 (and, presumably, going forward)  are now severely limited due to the SGA’s new funding bylaws. Carrie Resnick, co-president of the Hopkins College Democrats, spoke to The Johns Hopkins News-Letter about the funding problem caused by her group’s reclassification:

“In the past we’ve had $4,000 as our funding, and this year, we found out in the fall that we’d just have $250 like all political organizations. It was crazy. It was like a 97 percent cut,” Co-President of the Hopkins College Democrats Carrie Resnick said.

She said that the cutbacks not only came as a shock but also left her group with inadequate funds to carry out their operations.

“They didn’t tell us last year at all, so we couldn’t prepare for fundraising or anything,” Resnick said. “It was very, very sudden. Like suddenly we just did not have the money we expected to have.”