A federal court issued an order on Oct. 9 siding with a Florida State University (FSU) student who was ousted as student Senate president after sending private text messages that criticized Black Lives Matter.
Judge Allen Winsor of the Northern District Court of Florida sided with student Jack Denton and ordered FSU to resume paying him his salary. Denton was kicked out of his paid position as president of the FSU student Senate in June for allegedly making “transphobic,” racist, and “anti-abortion” comments in private texts.
Winsor said is was not a matter of the ousted student leader needing to have a thicker skin: “Denton is not here to complain about insults or hurt feelings. His claim is that he lost his job — his student government position — because he chose to exercise his First Amendment rights.”
On June 3 Denton wrote private texts denouncing Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Reclaim the Block for the organizations’ views on transgenderism and abortion. A Roman Catholic, Denton sent the texts to a group chat of the Catholic Student Union on campus.
At a student senate meeting later the same day, a student senator to whom the texts were leaked made a motion of no confidence in Denton, but the motion failed, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. After pressure from FSU student groups like Spire Magazine and the Pride Student Union, an emergency student senate meeting was called for June 5 and Denton was removed as the body’s president.
Denton went on to sue several school officials including FSU President John Thrasher and two students, including Ahmad Daraldik, the current student Senate president, on Aug. 31.