ADF having record year defending freedom at America’s universities10 lawsuits in last 12 months, 400 letters since 2012, nation’s leading faculty free speech win involving jury trial in 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
“Public universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas. For them to do otherwise is to act contrary to their very reason for existence and is frequently unconstitutional as well,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker, who heads the ADF public university legal team. “Our efforts to protect freedom at public universities are motivated by one desire: to ensure that the marketplace of ideas that a university is supposed to be stays that way for everyone.”
ADF reports the following progress so far in the past year:
- Filed 10 lawsuits that either protect the freedoms of public university students against unconstitutional policies or protect the religious freedom of private universities against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate. Two of these lawsuits were against some of the largest university systems in the country: University of Michigan and University of Georgia.
- Won the leading faculty free speech case involving a jury trial.
- Filed friend-of-the-court briefs in significant university cases, including one in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of public employees to speak freely on matters of public concern outside of the workplace, such as when testifying in court proceedings.
- Won a Virginia case that dismantled unconstitutional speech restrictions at 23 community colleges throughout the state.
- Continued a nationwide effort begun in 2012 to contact universities and colleges that have unconstitutional policies. At present, ADF has written letters to nearly 400 schools and has succeeded in having bad policies changed for the benefit of more than 4.5 million students in 25 states.
- Speech codes, university rules that limit constitutionally protected speech. (Example)
- Speech zones, unconstitutional rules that limit speech to tiny areas of campus. (Example)
- Discriminatory distribution of funds obtained by mandatory fees assessed to all students. (Example)
- Abuse of “non-discrimination” policies to say that a student group must accept leaders that don’t even agree with the group’s beliefs. (Example)
- Rules that force students to endorse views or encourage behavior they oppose in order to successfully complete an assignment, finish a program, or obtain a degree. (Example)
- The assessment of security fees for student group events that university officials don’t like and deem “controversial.” (Example)
- Retaliatory actions against faculty who don’t share a university’s favored orthodoxy. (Example)
- Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)
- Anderson v. Harrison (Columbus State Community College, filed 2013-08-26)
- Southern Nazarene University v. Sebelius (filed 2013-09-20)
- Dordt College v. Sebelius (filed 2013-10-23)
- Ave Maria School of Law v. Sebelius (filed 2013-11-13)
- Young Americans for Liberty v. Coleman (University of Michigan, filed 2013-12-20)
- Parks v. The Members of the State Board of the Virginia Community College System (filed 2014-03-13)
- Students for Life USA v. Waldrop (University of South Alabama, filed 2014-04-03)
- Young Americans for Liberty v. Morehead (University of Georgia, filed 2014-05-01)
- Harper v. McArthur (Cameron University, filed 2014-05-14)
- Abolitionists4Life v. Kustra (Boise State University, filed 2014-06-27)