(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – As part of a legal settlement, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) was required to pay a Christian student $80,000 for stifling her conservative viewpoints.
In addition, due to the complaint filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, three academics are required to complete First Amendment training.
According to reports, the student filed a lawsuit alleging that SIUE had discriminated against her and suppressed her speech after receiving complaints from other students about her pro-life and conservative social media posts.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will pay a former student $80,000 to settle a lawsuit she filed claiming the school had silenced her for being a politically conservative Christian. https://t.co/q1Ta7D7OjG https://t.co/q1Ta7D7OjG
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) July 29, 2023
According to the study, conservative student Maggie DeJong received three “no-contact orders” from SIUE last year that forbade her from speaking with three other students directly or indirectly due to their complaints about her political stances.
The settlement, obtained by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, requires that three SIUE professors complete free speech-related training and that the university pay DeJong $80,000.
Under the settlement, SIUE administrators are apparently required to update its student handbook and regulations to “ensure students with varying political, religious, and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program.”
DeJong previously admitted to frequently participating in class debates on “contentious” subjects like censorship, race relations, religion, and COVID-19.
However, the conservative student obtained the no-contact order before completing her three-year graduate school because her classmates took issue with her social media posts against abortion and defunding the police.
DeJong insulted her classmates by supporting Kyle Rittenhouse and criticizing critical race theory, according to ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhoffer, who spoke with Fox News. As a result, the institution forbade her from actively participating in class debates.
The legal team added that the institution had given the directives without giving the conservative student a chance to respond and had encouraged DeJong’s peers to denounce her for using “harmful rhetoric.”
In a statement, Chancellor James T. Minor of SIUE emphasized that the university is “unequivocally committed to protecting First Amendment rights and does not have policies that restrict free speech or support censorship.” A representative for SIUE pointed Fox News to this statement.
“For decades, universities have embraced the challenge of vigorously protecting free speech while at the same time creating a safe learning environment for the expression of diverse views. Protecting these two principles can create tensions,” Minor said.
ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann said, “Public universities can’t punish students for expressing their political and religious viewpoints.”
“Maggie, like every other student, is protected under the First Amendment to respectfully share her personal beliefs, and university officials were wrong to issue gag orders and silence her speech,” Hoffmann affirmed.
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