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Viewpoint discrimination is expensive: College shells out six figures for blocking anti-gay literature

Waubonsee Community College learned this week that it’s cheaper to let students make up their own minds about homosexuality than stop what they hear.

The Illinois school just paid two activists $132,000 in damages and attorney’s fees for stopping them from distributing leaflets for their organization, Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment, according to the Rutherford Institute, which represented the pair.

They will also get to hand out leaflets “near entrances to the college’s student center on various occasions over the next 10 years,” the institute said.

As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, a federal judge already issued a preliminary injunction against the college’s ban on the activists, saying it couldn’t regulate “provocative speech.”

The school had said the activists’ message was not “consistent with the philosophy, goals and mission of the college” and would be “disruptive of the college’s educational mission.”

It’s ridiculous that it took a nearly a year and six figures to make a college respect free speech, FIRE’s Ari Cohn says: “After decades of judicial opinions, it should not be news to any public college administrator that the First Amendment applies fully on campus.”

Read the settlement, Rutherford release and FIRE statement.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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