Georgia Gwinnett College (GWC) in Lawrenceville, Georgia, reached a settlement to pay $800,000 for having censored a Christian student.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represented Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford, is hailing it as a victory for freedom of speech and religion.
ADF attorneys alleged the college prevented the students from sharing their faith on campus, and a federal district court ruled in December the college can be held accountable.
GWC settled the lawsuit, paying damages and attorneys' fees totaling $800,000, and changing their "unconstitutional policies that violated the former students' freedom," ADF announced Wednesday.
"This settlement represents a victory not only for Chike and Joseph but also for many other students who wish to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms on the campuses of Georgia's public colleges and universities," ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham wrote in a statement. "For five years, Georgia Gwinnett College officials have tried again and again to dodge accountability for their illegal actions in violating Chike's and Joseph's rights, even after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked them.
"But after the district court put a stop to that, the college has finally decided to stop fighting the Constitution. This case should also remind other colleges and universities nationwide of the need to respect their students' liberties. If they do not, they can and will be held accountable."
GWC stopped Uzuegbunam twice from sharing his Christian faith with students on campus in 2016.
ADF filed the lawsuit and GWC changed it polices and argued it should not be held accountable. Two courts agreed before Uzuegbunam won in an 8-1 Supreme Court decision for the lawsuit to go on.
"We are pleased that the wrong done to our clients has been righted," ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, wrote in a statement.
"The Supreme Court saw the importance of addressing these legal violations on the merits, and so did the district court. Hopefully, this settlement will send a signal to college and university officials nationwide that students do not lose their constitutional rights at the campus gates, and that anyone who ignores these priceless freedoms can be held to account."
After the settlement, both parties dropped their legal action.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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