University Reaches Settlement With Conservative Student In Censorship Case

Conservative Christians on college campuses have faced increasing levels of backlash and even censorship from professors, administrators, and fellow students in recent years.

One Hunter College professor gained notoriety earlier this year for toppling a pro-life group’s display and unleashing an expletive-laden tirade.

Although reports indicated that Shellyne Rodriguez was not immediately reprimanded, she later faced criminal charges and lost her job after allegedly confronting a New York Post reporter with a machete when he attempted to ask her about the incident.

In another case, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student Maggie DeJong took the institution to court over her claim that she faced discrimination and had her First Amendment rights violated after a trio of students complained about her social media posts.

University personnel reportedly instructed the students to report DeJong’s supposedly “harmful rhetoric” on topics including critical race theory, defunding the police, and abortion.

The university reportedly sent her official orders not to have any contact with the students who did not approve of her conservative views, and she retained attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom to initiate a lawsuit.

In a settlement reached last week, the university agreed to pay DeJong $80,000 and require three of its professors to undergo a training session on the topic of free speech.

“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,” insisted ADF legal counsel Mathew Hoffmann in response to the settlement.

He went on to conclude that DeJong’s victory highlights the fact that public universities “can’t punish students for expressing their political and religious viewpoints.”

As for the university, which is also reportedly in the process of rewriting certain policies in its student handbook as part of the settlement, Chancellor James T. Minor claimed that SIUE is “unequivocally committed to protecting First Amendment rights and does not have policies that restrict free speech nor support censorship.”

His statement went on to assert: “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.”

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