Pronoun Police Lose: Student Wins Legal Battle with Montana State U. over Free Speech


A Montana State University (MSU) student has won her legal battle against the school, successfully getting the university to lift a no-contact order imposed on her after she refused to comply with a sorority’s “insistence” on preferred pronouns.

MSU student Daria Danley filed a lawsuit against the school after it accused her of “hate speech” and imposed a “no-contact order” on her after she questioned her sorority’s “insistence” that members identify themselves with preferred pronouns, according to a report by Daily Montanan.

People take part at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Pristina, Kosovo, on October 10, 2019. - Hundreds of Kosovo people marched along the main street during a Gay parade demanding "freedom" and "equal rights" in the patriarchal and Muslim majority country with little tolerant views on sexuality. (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP) (Photo by ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

People take part in an LGBT Pride Parade (ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

The no-contact order prohibited Danley, an Alpha Gamma Delta member, from attending sorority events, as well as from entering a building where another sorority student, who is LGBT, was present, the lawsuit said.

Danley has since agreed to dismiss her lawsuit — in which she accused Montana State University of violating her free speech — after the school agreed to end its no-contact order.

“The fact that MSU is caving in on its no-contact order is an admission that they know it’s unconstitutional,” Danley’s lawyer Matthew Monforton told Daily Montanan.

Meanwhile, MSU claims it only agreed to settle the case in order to avoid a lengthy and public court battle.

“Montana State University has accepted this settlement as a conciliatory mechanism to best serve the interests of our students,” MSU spokesperson Michael Becker said.

“Rather than engaging in protracted litigation and a public debate of this matter, we have taken steps to allow the involved students to return to the privacy of their normal lives and to focus on their education,” Becker added.

This is not the first time the public university has been sued for imposing radical gender ideology on its students.

In 2017, MSU had to pay a $120,000 settlement after it suspended then-student Erik Powell for criticizing a transgender student to a professor in a private meeting.

“Federal civil rights lawsuits seem to be the only way to get MSU to respect students’ constitutional rights,” Monforton said.

The concept of “preferred pronouns” is not an isolated problem. This new radical gender ideology has appeared at other universities, where it has also resulted in free speech lawsuits.

In 2021, Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, agreed to pay professor Nick Meriwether $400,000 after the Sixth Circuit federal appeals court unanimously ruled the school had violated the professor’s First Amendment rights by ordering him to use students’ preferred pronouns.

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


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.