College will pay $800,000 settlement to Christian student it censored

Georgia Gwinnett College, which is based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a free speech lawsuit filed by a Christian student it had reportedly censored, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, who announced this on Wednesday. The settlement will cover “nominal damages and attorneys’ fees.”

Christian student Chike Uzuegbunam said he had tried to speak on campus about his faith and also distribute Christian literature. He said he was prevented from doing this on several occasions.

Uzuegbunam was told by the university that he had to make an advance reservation at one of the university’s “speech zones” which were available a few hours per week.

A second Christian student, Joseph Bradford, decided not to speak about religion after hearing what happened to Uzuegbunam. Both Uzuegbunam and Bradford then decided to sue the academic who enforced the college’s speech policies, arguing that those policies violated their First Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court heard arguments for the case last year and ruled 8-1 in favor of the Christian students.

“After more than five years of litigation and an important mid-litigation Supreme Court victory for Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford, Georgia Gwinnett College officials have agreed to settle the case, giving Uzuegbunam and Bradford the justice they were seeking all along,” ADF said.

ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham celebrated the news, calling the settlement that “a victory not only for Chike and Joseph but also for many other students who wish to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms on the campuses of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.”

“For five years, Georgia Gwinnett College officials have tried again and again to dodge accountability for their illegal actions in violating Chike’s and Joseph’s rights, even after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked them,” Barham continued.

“But after the district court put a stop to that, the college has finally decided to stop fighting the Constitution,” Barham added. “This case should also remind other colleges and universities nationwide of the need to respect their students’ liberties. If they do not, they can and will be held accountable.”

In May, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law the “Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act” into law, which designates all unrestricted outdoor areas of campuses as public forums and prevents the creation of “free speech zones.”




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