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Christian Student Wins $80K Payout From College After Censorship Attempts

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In a new victory for free speech, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) has reached a settlement with Maggie DeJong, a conservative Christian art student who asserted that the institution had curbed her constitutional right to express her beliefs and exhibited bias based on her political stance. The understanding was brokered by the conservative legal organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The settlement necessitates obligatory training around the principles of free speech for three professors at SIUE, aimed at protecting freedom of expression in the context of higher education, Fox reported. Significant revisions to the SIUE student guidebook and policy changes have been directed to encourage a more inclusive environment within the art therapy program that embraces multiple political, religious, and ideological perspectives. The university has also agreed to an $80,000 settlement to finalize the lawsuit.

DeJong’s run-in with censorship began when she openly defended Kyle Rittenhouse on social media and cited critiques of critical race theory, inviting criticism from her fellow students. The culmination of the suit comes just over a year after the university issued three “no-contact orders” against her, denying her direct or indirect communication with three students who alleged that her political views equated to “harassment” and “discrimination.”

ADF senior counsel, Tyson Langhoffer, revealed that DeJong’s defense of Kyle Rittenhouse and her opposition to critical race theory led to university sanctions, impeding her full participation in class debates.

Her classmates were even encouraged by the university to raise alarm over her “harmful rhetoric.” The ADF pointed out that the university’s directives were implemented without providing DeJong an opportunity to defend her views. The university has since acquiesced to policy amendments granting students “procedural and substantive protections” against no-contact orders.

When approached by Fox News, SIUE echoed a statement released earlier by Chancellor James T. Minor. In this statement, Minor underlined his commitment to safeguarding First Amendment rights and dismissed allegations of policies enforcing censorship. He also highlighted the alleged complexities faced by educational institutions in maintaining a balance between free speech and creating a safe learning and inclusive environment.

Echoing his sentiments, ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffman emphasized that public universities cannot penalize students for expressing their beliefs, further adding that the university officials were in the wrong to silence DeJong’s speech.

The post Christian Student Wins $80K Payout From College After Censorship Attempts appeared first on Reclaim The Net.

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