Free Speech Win: U. of Idaho Settles Lawsuit Brought by Christian Students It Silenced

Christian college students praying
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The University of Idaho must pay $90,000 to settle a free speech lawsuit brought by ADF on behalf of Christian law students and a professor after the school’s civil rights investigation office issued “no-contact” orders against them.

The settlement resolves a case brought to the University of Idaho by three law students who are members of the Christian Legal Society student group, and a law professor who serves as the group’s faculty advisor, according to a report by the Columbian.

In addition to paying $90,000, the university has also rescinded the “no-contact” orders as part of the settlement.

The group, which was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed its lawsuit in April, maintaining that the university had illegally punished them for expressing their religious beliefs, which included their support for the traditional idea that marriage is between a man and a woman.

ADF explained that the university had issued the no-contact orders after a student took offense to the group’s requirement that its officers agree with the Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Moreover, after disclosing this information, the Christian Legal Society’s beliefs were also publicly denounced by the student and several others at a panel with the American Bar Association.

“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s leaders, judges, and school administrators, so it’s imperative that university officials model the First Amendment freedoms they are supposed to be teaching their students,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement.

“We’re pleased to settle this case favorably on behalf of Peter, Mark, Ryan, and Professor Seamon, and we hope that it will encourage all public universities across the country to support the constitutionally protected freedom of students and professors to share their deeply held beliefs on campus,” Langhofer added.

Christian Legal Society attorney Laura Nammo also reacted to the settlement, stating, “If we are to repair the current culture of political polarization, conversations among persons with differing viewpoints are essential.”

“University officials’ censorship of such conversations needlessly exacerbates polarization and harms all students’ ability to learn from one another,” Nammo added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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