Issued ‘no-contact’ orders because others complained about her views
A college in Illinois has agreed that it will pay up to a conservative student for its officials’ actions to silence her.
A report from Fox News reveals Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will pay $80,000, and will require three professors there to take mandatory training related to free speech.
The ADF represented student Maggie Dejong in the dispute.
“The settlement also stipulates that SIUE officials must revise their student handbook and policies to ‘ensure students with varying political, religious and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program,'” Fox reported.
Dejong had been slammed by the school with three “no-contact orders” that prevented her from having direct or indirect communication with three specific students last year. Those students had complained to the school about her, alleging her political views actually constituted “harassment” against them.
Fox reported, “Dejong previously told ‘Fox & Friends First’ that she routinely participated in class discussions on contentious topics such as race relations, religion, COVID-19 and censorship, typically offering a conservative perspective.”
She also posted on social media comments on abortion and defunding the police.
Tyson Langhoffer, a lawyer for ADF, explained her classmates were out of sorts because Dejong’s postings include a defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. She also denounced the racist critical race theory.
The ADF said the university refused to allow her to defend her beliefs, instead asking other students to report her for “harmful rhetoric.”
“University officials have since agreed to revise their policies to ensure students have ‘substantive and procedural protections’ from no-contact orders,” Fox reported.
Now the school has issued a statement that it supports the First Amendment.
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.”
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