This lawsuit is a part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.
A student at Blinn College near Houston filed a First Amendment lawsuit against her college on May 20, 2015, based on an incident in February when an administrator told her she would need “special permission” to display a gun rights sign and collect signatures for her student group on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education assisted the student, Nicole Sanders, in filing the federal lawsuit challenging numerous unconstitutional restrictions on free speech at Blinn College. The lawsuit challenged Blinn’s policy of restricting speech to a tiny “Free Speech Area,” as well as the process that led the college to take over a month to approve a palm card she wanted to hand out to students explaining their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The suit also alleged that one of Sanders’ professors threatened her with retaliation, telling her he would “protect me and mine” if she sought to take action against the school.
On May 4, 2016, the Blinn College Board of Trustees agreed to settle the case and revise the restrictive policies targeted in the lawsuit to comply with the First Amendment. Blinn also agreed to pay Sanders $50,000 for damages and attorney’s fees.