Illinois College That Punished Student For Conservative Views Paying Big

Southern Illinois University has been ordered to pay $80,000 to Maggie DeJong, a Christian student who bravely stood up for her conservative political views in the face of opposition. The university settled the lawsuit this week after DeJong claimed that her university punished her for expressing her beliefs.

DeJong, who studied art therapy counseling in the school, said she was known for voicing her conservative perspective during class discussions on sensitive topics such as race, religion, COVID 19 and censorship. She also shared her views on her Instagram account, advocating for the pro-life movement, defending Kyle Rittenhouse, and criticizing Critical Race Theory.

Unfortunately, some students took issue with DeJong’s views and complained, leading the university to launch an investigation against her. Shockingly, she was served three “no contact” orders, completely banning her from communicating with the other graduate students who had complained. 

While DeJong was labeled as “harmful” and “harassment” by the complaining students, she was never given a chance to defend herself properly.

She, however, refused to back down and sought justice through legal means. Filing a lawsuit against the university, she argued that her First Amendment rights were being violated. 

Attorney Mathew Hoffmann from Alliance Defending Freedom, whose legal team represented DeJong, emphasized the importance of protecting students’ right to express their political and religious viewpoints. 

“Public universities can’t punish students for expressing their political and religious viewpoints. Maggie, like every other student, is protected under the First Amendment to respectfully share her personal beliefs, and university officials were wrong to issue gag orders and silence her speech,” he stated.

For the team, the settlement of $80,000 sends a clear message that the First Amendment must be upheld and respected on university campuses.

As part of the settlement, Southern Illinois University has agreed to take steps to ensure that all students, regardless of their political, religious, or ideological views, feel welcome. Three of the school’s professors will receive mandatory First Amendment training, and the university will revise its student handbook and policies to align with the principles of free speech.