Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Gerald C. Kops

Number of Pages



The allocable student activity fee represents a fee imposed by the university administration and is paid at the time that tuition is paid. The administration or the elected student government body representatives disperse these collected fees to groups that have made application for funding and have passed the review process. Sometimes students object to their mandatory activities fees being diverted to certain groups because they are either political or advocate opinions with which the students disagree. Thus, the controversy becomes a free speech challenge; The purpose of this study was to provide a historical case study about the legal controversies over mandatory student fees. It explores the application of First Amendment jurisprudence of student fees and assesses the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's Regents of the Univ. of Wis. Sys. et. al. v. Southworth, et. al., 120 S. Ct. 1346 (2000) on select public universities' mandatory student fees programs in the Ninth Circuit. Guidelines are offered to administrators on how to rigorously review and modify their respective policies concerning student fee collections and disbursements in order to comply with the First Amendment rights associated with the Southworth decision; In order to accomplish this, the following research questions are addressed by this study: (1) How did the U.S. Supreme Court resolve the conflict between the circuits regarding allocable mandatory student fee programs in Southworth? (2) What were the major arguments in the judicial process that influenced the U.S. Supreme Court's decision? (3) What areas were left in doubt? (4) Were there continuing disagreements? (5) Are there questions left unanswered? (6) What, if any, new questions or issues emerged from this decision? (7) What is the impact on mandatory student fees policies of specific, major state universities in the Ninth Circuit as a result of the Southworth decision? (8) What should administrators do to come into compliance with the Southworth decision/precedent? Because this endeavor constitutes legal research, the writing style contained in this dissertation was a combination of APA and Harvard Blue Book.


Amendment; Analysis; Application; Fees; First; First Amendment; Jurisprudence; Policies; Students; Supreme Court; University

Controlled Subject

Education, Higher; School management and organization; Law; Education--Finance

File Format


File Size

4198.4 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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