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UVA alumna settles with university over sanctions for ‘speed bumps’ comment

Accuser is a ‘fat liberation advocate’

A University of Virginia alumna settled a lawsuit that stemmed from false allegations made by a campus activist.

Morgan Bettinger and UVA reached an undisclosed settlement agreement according to The Cavalier Daily.

The university told the student newspaper the suit “was resolved by a mutual and amicable agreement and dismissed following a joint motion by both parties.”

Bettinger (pictured) sued her alma mater for First Amendment and racial discrimination violations as previously reported by The Fix.

The matter began in 2020 when black activist Zyahna Bryant, now a “fat liberation advocate” for Dove, falsely accused Bettinger of making insensitive comments about Black Lives Matter protesters during a July 2020 protest.

Bettinger, whose dad was a police officer, was driving home from work when she came upon an “anti-police protest,” according to the original lawsuit.

She spoke to a truck driver who was blocking the road where protesters were laying down. “Well, it’s a good thing you’re here because otherwise they could be made speed bumps,” Bettinger said, according to the lawsuit, which printed her recollection of the comments.

Bryant, however, falsely accused her peer of saying the protesters would make “good f*cking speed bumps.” She was nowhere near Bettinger and reportedly made the allegation based on what she heard from someone else.

It didn’t stop Bryant from posting the false claim on social media, however. That eventually led to the University Judiciary Committee finding Bettinger not guilty of the accusations, but “guilty of ‘threatening’ students.”

The Fix previously reported:

Then a second investigation was conducted, this time finding that there was insufficient evidence of Bettinger’s alleged wrongdoing. Even still, the university refused to expunge sanctions that had been placed against her, “which consisted of 50 hours of community service at an approved social justice organization, three hours of remedial education on police-community relations with a specified professor, and an apology letter to the student who criticized Bettinger on Twitter.

The Daily Progress, a local newspaper, noted UVA kept an “expulsion on her record” “even though a UVa Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights found her not guilty.”

The university can take steps to avoid future legal problems, according to The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

“We urge UVA to stick to the First Amendment free speech standards,” First Amendment attorney Zach Greenberg told The Fix on a phone interview Monday.

“It is important that these universities when they get confronted with speech, understand the difference between protected speech and true threat,” Greenberg said. He said Bettinger’s comments were clearly not a “true threat.”

“In situations where there are complaints about speech, universities have to dismiss those complaints and not punish the students involved.”

MORE: Check out the Campus Cancel Culture Database

IMAGE: The Jefferson Independent/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.