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University drops baseless investigation into grad student who expressed religious views

ADF attorneys represent student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Following a letter from Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has dropped its investigation into an art therapy graduate student after classmates said her expression of religious and political viewpoints constituted “harassment” and “microaggressions.”

The university issued three “No Contact” orders against Maggie DeJong demanding that she have no contact or even “indirect communication” with three of her classmates. University officials rescinded the no-contact orders within days of receiving the letter ADF attorneys sent the university in February but had claimed DeJong was under investigation. It was only after ADF attorneys demanded that the university produce “all correspondence” and “all documents” related to students’ complaints and any investigation into DeJong that the university dropped its investigation.

“The university was right to drop its baseless investigation into Maggie, but unfortunately, there should not have been an investigation in the first place,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “University officials should welcome dialogue from a wide range of religious and ideological viewpoints, modeling for students an environment where freedom of speech and religious expression can flourish. Yet Southern Illinois University Edwardsville officials stifled Maggie’s ability to meaningfully engage and participate in her academic program because she sometimes spoke from a religious point of view. The university must revise its policies to adequately safeguard the constitutionally protected freedoms of Maggie and every other student and ensure that no other students are subjected to baseless investigations for expressing their religious views.”

  • Pronunciation guide: DeJong (DEE’-young); Langhofer (LANG’-hoff-ur)

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to ensuring freedom of speech and association for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

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