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From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education . . .

During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 750 registered student groups at the University of Pennsylvania have been able to host virtual events. But Penn students interested in hunting, archery, and shooting are being denied permission for even virtual activities.

Yesterday, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education called on Penn to stop engaging in viewpoint discrimination and promptly process the students’ application for recognition.

“In refusing to officially acknowledge the hunting club, Penn’s administration is missing the mark,” said Zach Greenberg, FIRE senior program officer. “Penn must afford these students the same rights and privileges it already provides to its hundreds of student groups.”

In March 2020, a group of Penn students applied to register the Hunting, Archery, and Shooting Club to “promote sustainable conservation, marksmanship, and ethical hunting practices through education and training.” Despite Penn’s ostensible commitment to students’ rights and the students meeting all necessary criteria for club recognition, the club’s application continues to sit in limbo over a year later, even as other groups receive approval. Penn claims that due to the “nature of the group’s mission” it cannot make an approval decision until the university returns to normal operations.

University of Pennsylvania U Penn

A delayed approval means that the club cannot use university resources to fundraise, advertise, or grow its membership as an official Penn student organization. Nor can the club host virtual events or activities as a registered student group. By continuing to deny registration, Penn prevents the group from meaningfully participating within the Penn academic community.

The group’s leadership told FIRE they “understand that the university is facing a pandemic, but it’s been over a year; we have watched other clubs be approved during this time and we’d like to be treated equally.”

Although Penn officials wrote that the “nature of the group’s mission and potential group activities” may pose public health risks and therefore preclude the group’s approval, other clubs focused on in-person activities, such as dance troupes, a cappella groups, and sports teams, have maintained their registration and continue to meet virtually during the pandemic. Additionally, Penn registered other groups in the past year, including the Penn Surf Club, whose mission also clearly promotes outdoor activities that, if conducted, would violate university COVID-19 policies.

Penn’s ongoing refusal to process the club’s application for registration violates the university’s commitment to students’ rights. Penn’s “Guidelines on Open Expression” state that the university “affirms, supports and cherishes the concepts of freedom of thought, inquiry, speech, and lawful assembly.”

FIRE first wrote to Penn on Feb. 4; the university responded that it was “working hard” to keep the campus safe but did not address the club’s application specifically. Today’s letter calls on Penn to immediately process the club’s application for registration so that interested students may gather virtually and plan for in-person events after the pandemic.

“We will not let this evasive response stand when students’ rights are at stake,” Greenberg said. “Today’s letter demands that Penn align its actions with its commitment to free expression and association. By engaging in viewpoint discrimination and delaying the club’s approval process, Penn is shooting itself in the foot.”


The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of liberty.


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  1. “Penn claims that due to the “nature of the group’s mission” it cannot make an approval decision until the university returns to normal operations.”

    Once again Covid comes in handy as an excuse. That’s why the Left never wants things to return to normal.

    • The fauci face diaper (TM) and fauci ouchie (TM) are pure power plays. It’s been hilarious watching the song and dance.

  2. Pennsylvania alumni and taxpayers need to question their financial support of state institutions of higher education if they persist in viewpoint discrimination.

    Are they indifferent to managing wildlife which – without hunting – will overpopulate the capacity of the environment? Do they prefer outbreaks of chronic wasting disease, automobile collisions which threaten human lives and leave injured dear to suffer prolonged deaths? Do they challenge the Commonwealth’s constitutional declaration that “The right of the citizens to bear arms shall not be questioned”?

    • “environment”

      The only thing they know about the environment is that they (the government) need trillions of dollars, a carbon tax, and lots of Chinese made green energy products so we can lower the average temperature by half a degree by the end of the century. Meanwhile, China laughs.

    • I don’t contribute. They took more money than they gave in education. Worst investment ever.

      Call your state representatives, complain, act.
      Even better, move to a school that does.

  3. “Higher education” my ass! Maybe if the clubs rules required membership in antifa, LGBTQ, blm, or some other crap, they’d be allowed to flourish!!

    • Yes and no- the population owns guns, but the political machine is pretty far left, and like to blame guns for crime instead of doing stuff, like locking potential voters up.

      When the BLM riots got going a neighbor of mine- a Navy vet- went around our gated community asking who would help defend the place. I was pleasantly surprised that many of my neighbors were armed, including a few of the gay couples.

  4. Remember this when the Left talks about “not needed for hunting”. They are against hunting as well.

    Penn just might be the most conservative of the Ivies- it actually has ROTC, for example.

    But- a large swath of the population are horrified by hunting.

  5. You’re paying to go there. Do what you want or change schools.
    Don’t let a place you’re paying for dictate what or who you can be.

  6. The Club should change its name to the “Black Transgender Socialist Hunting, Archery, and Shooting Club Against White Privilege.” It will be recognized immediately.

  7. “A delayed approval means that the club cannot use university resources to fund raise, advertise, or grow its membership AS AN OFFICIAL PENN STUDENT ORGANIZATION.
    Nor can the club host virtual events or activities “AS A REGISTERED STUDENT GROUP.” By continuing to deny registration, Penn prevents the group from “MEANINGFULLY PARTICIPATING WITHIN THE PENN ACADEMIC COMMUNITY.”

    Oh, there it is…..IN CAPS…….the group’s problem is not lack of official Penn approval. Their problem is giving a flying F about the Penn approval at all. They have already been indoctrinated to think they need government/official/school approval to exist and enjoy freedom, rights, and liberties. Do your thingy off campus property. There, problem resolved. And, just exactly what does Penn recognition benefit them…..keep them in line and PC??? There isn’t anything they can’t do without official recognition. Just be creative and move ahead… campus.

    • Those students pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to school there. It’s about getting some of that money back to support their activities, just like every other group on campus.

      • Hmmm….that’s their first BAD BUSINESS decision. Welcome to the cruel, mean world. No wonder they have huge students loans that the degrees and education received can’t service and retire. Mostly, they receive anti-America propaganda and indoctrination. No wonder Xiden/KamalHo want to give “higher” indoctrination….er, education……to every malleable little snowflake mind…….letting actual Productive Citizens pick up the tab.

  8. Human nature has a tendency to resist things forced upon them. This might be a good thing.
    You cant ,,just might turn into a movement of ” Oh so says you, hide and watch.”

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  11. Also an interesting question, shooting is my hobby and I would like to do it on a professional level. But I don’t always have enough time, so I turn to to lighten up my study schedule a little and do other things

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