A Fresno State University professor will pay $17,000 and undergo First Amendment training by attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom as part of a legal settlement after he instructed students from his class to join him in defacing and erasing a pro-life student group’s sidewalk chalk messages.
On Friday, a federal court issued an order, agreed to by all parties, in the lawsuit that Fresno State Students for Life filed in May over the professor’s actions. The order prohibits the professor from interfering with the group’s expression.
“No public university professor has the authority to silence any student speech he happens to find objectionable or to recruit other students to participate in his censorship,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “Like all government officials, professors have an obligation to respect the constitutionally protected free speech of students. Of all people, professors should be the first to encourage all students to participate in the marketplace of ideas rather than erase the speech of those with whom they differ. The professor’s actions here were wrong and flagrantly violated the First Amendment.”