An upcoming Supreme Court case will explore students’ ability to collect damages when colleges and universities abridge their freedom of speech – in this case religious speech.
The Washington Times reports that while a student at Georgia Gwinnett College in 2016, Chike Uzuegbunam sought to distribute literature about his faith. He was informed he needed to apply for a permit for such activity within the school’s “free speech zone.”
Uzuegbunam applied for a reserved space in the specified area, and received permission to speak about his religion and evangelize those who inquired about Christianity, It did not last, however. In a classic example of “cancel culture,” the college shut him down after a fellow student — whose right not to hear things he disagreed with was apparently more important — complained.
With help from Alliance Defending Freedom, Mr. Uzuegbunam proceeded to sue nearly a dozen officials at the college, both in their official and individual capacities, alleging his constitutional rights were violated. Another student who is an evangelical Christian, Joseph Bradford, joined the suit. He wanted to speak on campus about his faith but was afraid doing so would lead to being silenced.
Catholic, Jewish and Muslim groups also submitted court filings in support of the students.
The college amended its policy after the lawsuit was filed and a lower court dismissed the case — not fining the school for the violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.