Catholic University of America: Student Investigated for “Arthur” Children’s Cartoon Meme Criticizing Student Group


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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On March 23, 2022, Catholic University of America’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter posted a picture of a transgender athlete with the text, “Change my mind,” and “Save women’s sports.” In response, CUA student Rory O’Connor posted numerous memes criticizing YAF on his Instagram stories, including one with an obviously nonliteral and joking reference to kneecapping. After YAF complained to CUA, the university launched an investigation for “disorderly conduct” based on O’Connor’s memes. FIRE wrote CUA on April 1 explaining that the university may not investigate or punish O’Connor for his satirical memes, which are protected by the school’s strong free speech promises. On April 4, CUA found O’Connor not responsible.