The university’s decision to reverse the suspensions was welcomed by civil rights groups including the New York Civil Liberties Union, who warned that the punishment could chill student speech.
The settlement is part of a 2017 lawsuit filed by a student who a student believes the university discriminated against him and his group when it refused to fund a pro-life event. In addition to paying the student $240,000, the university agreed to amend its policies to ensure future funding is allocated in a viewpoint neutral manner.
The student artwork, a parody of Caravaggio's "Judith Beheading Holofernes," involved swapping the figures for the Statue of Liberty and President Trump. The university's decision to censor the artwork appears to go against policies the school lays out in their student handbook.
Every year since 2011, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has issued a list of 10 individual colleges and universities that, via policies or actions, have threatened the free speech rights of their students and faculty.
The Ohio State Senate passed a new bill on campus speech on January 28th that will prohibit free speech zones, and ban the imposition of security fees based on the controversial nature of the speaker’s expression.
Neither Mucaj nor Karal directed the epithet toward anybody in particular, but uttered it out loud as part of a juvenile game that tested the other’s willingness to shout obscenities. Now, they say the university is using a vague policy to punish them for speech that, while offensive, is constitutionally protected.
Asheen Phansey was fired on Thursday for a satirical Facebook post he made about President Donald Trump’s threat to bomb 52 sites “important to Iran & Iranian culture.”
“Through the use of three policies –a ban on chalking, a prohibition on student emails related to campaigns and elections, and a Campus Climate Reporting System–Iowa State University has created an elaborate investigative and enforcement regime designed to chill speech concerning political and social issues of public concern,” Speech First said in a statement on its site.