Wednesday, March 5, 2014

University settles with pro-life student group; will allow pro-life display, rescind disciplinary actions, change policies and pay students’ legal fees

In July 2012, members of Cowboys for Life at Oklahoma State University sought to reserve space for pro-life displays near the Student Union, a highly traveled area of campus that student groups regularly use for such events. OSU officials denied the club’s request because, the officials claimed, the displays might offend some people. Instead, the university relegated the displays to a less-traveled area of campus and then required Cowboys for Life to place “warning” signs around the displays.

When members of the group tried to distribute literature near the Student Union, OSU officials ordered the students to leave the area or post additional “warning” signs. After the event, officials coordinated and launched an investigation that claimed the students had violated the Student Code of Conduct.
Last year, on behalf of the students involved, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the university after officials there took numerous actions to impede and disrupt the group’s pro-life displays on campus.

Travis Barham 
The university has now agreed to a settlement which means pro-life student groups will no longer face disruption of their pro-life events and displays at Oklahoma State University.
“Universities should promote the free exchange of ideas, not exile views they don’t like to isolated places on campus,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “This settlement ensures that Oklahoma State officials will not have free reign to censor students.”

As part of the settlement, OSU agreed to update its policies and practices to respect students’ constitutionally protected freedom of expression and will treat Cowboys for Life the same as all other recognized student organizations. OSU also officially rescinded any verbal warnings against the group, made clear that the group no longer faces any investigations for supposedly violating the Student Code of Conduct, and paid for the group’s attorneys’ fees.

No comments:

Post a Comment