Enforcing Freedoms on Campus

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

College and university students and employees don't give up their free speech, freedom of religion, and other liberty rights simply because they are on campus. Some students may seek so-called safe places where others cannot challenge their thinking with views that they deem offensive. And according to a nonprofit spotlight on campus free speech, campuses are often willing to adopt and enforce speech codes and related discipline policies to silence views that transgress student sensitivities and viewpoint orthodoxies. But a state university's $400,000 settlement paying a professor for violating the professor's free speech rights reaffirms that First Amendment rights still apply on public college and university campuses. If your college or university is threatening your free speech rights with student discipline or employment termination, retain national student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm to defend and preserve your rights.

Expensive Pronouns

According to reports of that $400,000 case, the Ohio public school Shawnee State University reprimanded its professor for refusing on religious grounds to call a transgender student by the student's preferred pronoun. The professor had offered to use only the student's name to avoid offense while preserving the professor's religious freedom and free speech rights to call a man a man rather than a woman. School officials treated the professor's refusal as a violation of the school's Title IX sexual misconduct policy against sexual harassment, reprimanding the professor. After three years of litigation over the issue, a federal appellate court ruled that the university had violated the professor's rights. The settlement followed about a year later, acknowledging the professor's right to use pronouns consistent with a student's biological rather than identified sex.

Enforcing Freedom Rights

The above case confirms that public schools in particular owe their students and employees First Amendment free speech, freedom of association, and religious freedom rights. Federal laws like 42 USC Section 1983 support private civil actions against government actors, including public colleges and universities, to enforce those and other constitutional rights. Other laws may provide similar remedies against private schools, especially schools receiving federal funding. The above case also confirms that suing a college or university to preserve liberty rights isn't easy. Three or four years is a long time to litigate to preserve education or employment rights. But colleges and universities typically offer administrative procedures that students and employees can invoke to challenge unlawful interference with public rights.

Attorney Representation for Liberty Rights Nationwide

Invoking school procedures to challenge unlawful school actions or litigating with your school when it refuses to respect your liberty rights, requires skilled representation by an experienced academic administrative attorney. Don't hire an unqualified local criminal defense lawyer or civil litigator if you face a liberty dispute with your college or university. Instead, retain national student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective representation. Attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students and employees nationwide in college and university dispute resolution. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now or use the online service.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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