Dixie State University - Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit


Dixie State University

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Case Overview

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This lawsuit is a part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.

On March 4, 2015, Students at Dixie State University filed a First Amendment lawsuit against their university with assistance from FIRE. The lawsuit alleged that Dixie State refused to approve promotional flyers produced by the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) student group that featured images negatively portraying Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Dixie State administrators told student plaintiff William Jergins that the flyers would not be approved until he removed references to the political figures because school policy does not permit students to “disparage” or “mock[] individuals.”

The lawsuit also alleged that Dixie State’s director of student involvement and leadership unilaterally decided that YAL’s request to stage a “free speech wall” event could be accommodated only in the school’s unconstitutional “free speech zone,” rather than in the requested central area of campus.

On September 17, 2015—Constitution Day—Dixie State agreed to settle the lawsuit and revise the campus policies targeted by the lawsuit to meet First Amendment standards. The university also agreed to provide training to administrators about the campus’ new speech policies and pay $50,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.