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Free speech finally free in Cal State University system

ADF attorneys obtain settlement that amends Cal State system’s speech policies, eliminates serious constitutional concerns

OAKLAND, Calif. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom have successfully reached a settlement with California State University system officials to eliminate problematic restrictions on student speech at all 23 of the system’s schools.

“Christian and conservative students shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs.  The university is supposed to be the ‘marketplace of ideas,’ but these ‘speech codes,’ with few exceptions, were selectively applied.  This settlement benefits everyone who cherishes their First Amendment rights,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel David Hacker.

“The positive effects of this settlement are sweeping.  Thousands of students throughout the Cal State system are now more free to speak without fear of punishment by agents of the government,” Hacker said.  “Cal State officials have done the right thing in agreeing to respect and support the free speech rights of their students.”

A federal judge suspended or limited aspects of the CSU speech policy last year, saying that it contains serious constitutional problems.

As part of the settlement, portions of the Cal State system “speech code,” the San Francisco State University Student Organization Handbook “speech code,” and the SFSU harassment policy will be modified to eliminate unconstitutional restrictions that have been misused by university officials.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, College Republicans at San Francisco State University v. Reed, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, in conjunction with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

ADF attorneys are also litigating a lawsuit against discriminatory non-discrimination policies at San Diego State University and California State University–Long Beach.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom defends religious freedom at America’s public universities.  ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.