Student Journalists Sue University of Illinois for Restricting Their Right to Report on Professor Who Allegedly Assaulted Them

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Student journalists at the University of Illinois are suing their school for placing a restriction on their freedom to write about a professor who allegedly assaulted them last November.

Three students at the University of Illinois filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that the university violated their First Amendment rights when they told them that they couldn’t report on an altercation that took place between them and an instructor during an anti-Trump rally on campus.

“This case arises from the actions and policies of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (the “University”) and the public officials employed by the University that have restricted, and continue to restrict, Plaintiffs’ expressive rights,” the legal complaint reads. “This action is premised on the United States Constitution, and particularly the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments thereto, and concerns the denial of the Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to free press, free speech, and due process.”

The lawsuit stems from a November incident involving University of Illinois instructor Tariq Khan, a Ph.D. candidate, who allegedly assaulted the student journalists during an anti-Trump rally on campus.

Campus Reform posted a video clip of the altercation back in November. The footage is alleged to show Khan shoving one student and destroying the cell phone of another.

After the altercation, the students claim that the university told them that they weren’t permitted to report on the incident with Khan.“I was told that if I wanted the ‘situation to improve’ that I should stop writing about Khan,” student Andrew Minik said.

In a statement, Mauck and Baker, LLC, the law firm representing the students, said that the university violated their free press, free speech, and due process rights.

Today three University of Illinois student-journalists filed a federal lawsuit against university officials and an instructor for violating their constitutional rights to free press, free speech, and due process.

The suit comes after the school punished the students for reporting on a campus anti-Trump rally co-organized by the Black Rose Anarchist group in November 2017. During the rally, Black Rose spokesman and university instructor, Tariq Khan, assaulted Joel Valdez and also went after student Blair Nelson who was video-recording the event. Co-plaintiff Andrew Minik, who was not at the event, reported on the incident for Campus Reform, a college news organization.

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