Cameron Univ. responds to student speech complaint

Policy changes resolve student lawsuit alleging speech infringement
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Attorney sound bites:  David Hacker  |  Kevin Theriot

OKLAHOMA CITY – Cameron University and one of its students have agreed to campus policy changes to settle a lawsuit filed in May on the student’s behalf by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. Daniel Harper complained that students were forced to pre-register their speech with college officials and comply with vague speech codes to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms. The policy revisions clarify the freedom of expression available to university students.

“Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas. We commend Cameron University for quickly and responsibly taking action to foster that environment on its campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker.

“Through this collaboration, Daniel and the university have demonstrated their mutual desire to respect the constitutionally protected freedoms of university students,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.

“I am thankful this issue was brought to our attention, and we were able to make appropriate modifications to bring a policy up to date,” said John McArthur, president of Cameron University. “The university’s objective is for its students to receive an effective education through a positive experience at Cameron University, both in and outside the classroom. Administrators frequently face the challenge of managing this objective while at the same time respecting existing policies as well as competing religious and expressive intentions and goals.”

The lawsuit, Harper v. McArthur, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, challenged the university’s policies and practices under the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act. Brently Olsson, one of nearly 2,500 attorneys allied with ADF, served as local counsel for Harper.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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