OAN’s Shawntel Smith-Hill
5:55 PM – Friday, July 28, 2023
Three professors from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) have been ordered to take First Amendment training in order to settle a lawsuit from a conservative, Christian art student who claimed the university had discriminated against her and censored her speech.
A stipulation of the settlement won by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) requires SIUE officials “to revise both their policies and student handbook to ensure students with varying political, religious, and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program” as well as pay $80,000 to dismiss the lawsuit successfully.
The ADF’s victory comes just a little over a year after art therapy student Maggie DeJong was issued three “no-contact orders” from her university that prevented her from being in contact with three students who claimed her political views were “harmful rhetoric” and constituted “discrimination.”
DeJong was known to have conservative views, often participating in class discussions over topics like race relations, religion, COVID-19, and censorship.
No-contact orders were issued to her after her classmates disagreed with a series of social media posts made by DeJong about defunding the police and abortion laws.
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhoffer said the art student upset her classmates by defending Kyle Rittenhouse as well as denouncing critical race theory, this led the university to take measures to prevent her from participating in class discussions.
ADF attorney Mathew Hoffmann said SIUE was “wrong to issue gag orders and silence her speech.”
“As a result of Maggie’s courage in filing suit, SIUE has agreed to take critical steps to comply with the law and the U.S. Constitution and move closer to accepting and embracing true diversity of thought and speech,” Hoffmann stated in the news release.
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