EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (WTVO) — An Illinois college has been ordered to pay a Christian student $80,000 after she claimed that the school censored her speech.
Maggie DeJong, a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), had previously received three “no-contact orders” from the school that prevented her from communicating with three students who claimed that her viewpoints constituted “harassment” and “discrimination,” according to Fox News.
Her classmates objected to social media posts she made about defunding the police and abortion.
She said that she had offered a conservative perspective during class discussions on topics like religion, COVID-19, race relations and censorship. Tyson Langhoffer, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said that DeJong had upset classmates by denouncing critical race theory and defending Kyle Rittenhouse.
This led to orders imposed by the university that left her from fully participating in class discussions, according to ADF. The university also reportedly asked students to report her for “harmful rhetoric” without letting DeJong defend herself.
SIUE Chancellor James T. Minor said that the university is “unequivocally committed to protecting First Amendment rights and does not have policies that restrict free speech nor support censorship” after officials agreed to revise their policies on no-contact orders.
Three SIUE professors have been ordered to take mandatory training related to free speech on college campuses as a result of the settlement. The university must also revise policies and their student handbook to “ensure students with varying political, religious and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program.”