WND EXCLUSIVE Chicago State pays $ 650,000 to settle 1st Amendment fight A threatened teacher blog that criticized the school administration


It cost Chicago State University $ 650,000 to settle the First Amendment dispute against officials who threatened a university blog criticizing the school's administration.

the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said the lawsuit was part of his "Stand up for Speech litigation project" launched several years ago.

The lawsuit was one of four complaints filed on the day of the project's opening. It is now the 13th case settled by the efforts of the organization.

The rule Teachers Phillip Beverly and Robert Bionaz of the state of Chicago filed a lawsuit if the school threatened them with lawsuits if they did not close their blog.

The blog criticized "perceived corruption and incompetence" in the administration of former CSU president Wayne Watson.

The university claimed that the blog violated the trademarks and did not respect its "high standards of civility and professionalism".

CSU also claimed that a photo of hurdles on campus violated its intellectual property rights, FIRE said.

"More than four years of increasing legal spending for a school with limited resources; More than four years of scandal and ridicule for a school whose reputation can not afford either one or the other, "Bionaz said. "The conclusion of this action represents a repudiation of the considerable efforts made by the Watson administration to stifle discourse on the campus of the state of Chicago."

"I am disappointed that a public university was forced through litigation to protect the rights of faculty, staff and students, in accordance with the first amendment," Beverly said. "The final resolution of this case came only after the hiring of a new president. I hope that the new government will take into account the constitutional protections we all enjoy and that the meager resources of the state will not be wasted because of the excessive pride and great incompetence of the executive. "

The agreement also provides for the school to reform its cyberbullying and computer use policies unconstitutional.

Politicians banned "any communication that tends to hinder or humiliate," said FIRE.

"This case should remind the administrators of state universities that they are not a law in themselves and that they must obey constitutional orders," said Robert Corn-Revere, lawyer representing the professors. .

"Universities can only serve as a real market of ideas if the preservation and protection of the First Amendment is an essential part of their mission."

FIRE had argued that CSU should give up because it had recently been ordered to pay $ 2.5 million to another plaintiff in a public record case. The CSU also paid $ 200,000 in a retaliation case against a student newspaper criticizing the university.