A graduate student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville filed a federal lawsuit against officials after the school issued "no-contact" orders against her because of her political and religious beliefs.
Maggie DeJong, a Southern Illinois University former graduate school student said that her fellow students reported her to school officials because she was vocal about her Christian Faith and political views both on her social media accounts and on her peers in the said university.
According to the civil complaint, DeJong was often known for her opinions on religious and political topics. Some of the topics included are COVID-19 regulations, critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, Marxism, and censorship.
The lawsuit reads that the statement that DeJong presented was "harmful" and calls for "social justice" under the Art Therapy Counseling Graduate Program. The defendants were said to be former Chancellor Randall G. Pembrook, the school's Director for Equal Opportunity, Access Jamie Ball, and Art Therapy Counseling Graduate Program Director Megan Robb.
Student Struggles Emotionally Because of The Allegations Made Against Her
Lawyers said via The Washington Times that DeJong "suffered sleeplessness, anxiety, chest pains, feelings of sadness, loss of appetite, weight loss, lack of concentration, harm to her reputation, and future loss of employment and wages" because of the allegations and orders of the Art Therapy Counseling Major.
In an email sent to The Daily Citizen, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Gregg Walters explained that suing was necessary for the university.
"Maggie not only asked the University to rescind the no-contact orders and drop its investigation, she also requested that the University publicly clear her of any wrongdoing and change its unconstitutional speech policies. Officials have refused those requests," Walters wrote.
"Maggie won't be the last student affected by the University's unconstitutional speech policies-policies that officials have shown they will use to silence speech they don't agree with." Walters continued.
Apparently, the graduate student was recognized as being "respectfully sharing her religious or political views, which every student is entitled to do under the First Amendment." Walters expressed in a press release that "It is a sad day for civil dialogue and freedom of speech when universities can issue gag orders like those issued against Maggie for nothing more than expressing her beliefs-beliefs held by millions of Americans."
Suit Recalls Text Messages Between DeJong and One of the Complainants
In an interview with The Christian Post, the three students who requested the "no-contact" orders were named by abbreviated pseudonyms of "Student A.S.", "Student T.P.," and "Student S.W."
One conversation between DeJong and Student S.W. via text message claimed that the former's messages were "threatening".
This message from DeJong reads: "[Student S.W.], I see where there are different forms of power, but I refuse to succumb to critical race theory. I think it is divisive and racist in its essence. So maybe I don't approach it your way, but I would be careful with your bold statements about me."