Lawsuit accuses San Francisco State U. of violating rights of College Republicans

July 9, 2007

The College Republicans at San Francisco State University sued it today for alleged violations of the group’s First Amendment rights.

As part of an anti-terrorism rally at San Francisco State last year, members of the political group’s campus chapter stomped on makeshift flags of Hamas and Hezbollah, which the U.S. government considers terrorist organizations. (Both flags include Arabic script spelling the word “Allah,” but the lawsuit says the plaintiffs did not know that.) The university investigated the College Republicans and conducted a disciplinary hearing, though ultimately it found no violation of its code of student conduct.

The lawsuit—filed on behalf of the College Republicans by the Alliance Defense Fund (a conservative, Christian legal-advocacy group) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—seeks a judgment that San Francisco State’s conduct code is vague and broad enough to be unconstitutional. The suit also asks for $5,000 in damages, lawyers’ fees, and the university’s deletion, in all records, of references to the disciplinary proceedings. The suit names more than two dozen defendants, including university officials, trustees, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, himself a Republican.

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Schools: San Francisco State University Cases: San Francisco State University: Students Investigated for Stepping on Flags