On Tuesday, a federal judge handed down a ruling that will allow FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech lawsuit at Iowa State University to go forward. U.S. District Judge James Gritzner denied Iowa State University’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by students Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh, leaders of the chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) at Iowa State University (ISU).
Paul and Erin filed the suit with the help of FIRE and the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine after ISU revoked approval of a T-shirt that included the school’s mascot and later rejected a design with the slogan “Freedom is NORML at ISU” accompanied by a marijuana leaf. ISU moved to dismiss the lawsuit last September, arguing that it had the right to protect its trademark in order to avoid appearing to condone particular political viewpoints. Judge Gritzner rejected that argument. His denial of ISU’s motion has brought the students one step closer to having their day in court.
Here is some of the news coverage of the ruling:
- Law 360, “Iowa State Admins Can’t Smoke Pot Group’s Free Speech Suit,” Bill Donahue
- Ames Tribune, “Judge denies motion to dismiss suit against ISU,” Melissa Erickson
- The Gazette, “Judge declines to dismiss Iowa State pro-marijuana free speech lawsuit,” Vanessa Miller
- Sioux City Journal, “Pro-marijuana group’s suit against Iowa State will proceed,” Associated Press
- The College Fix, “Going to pot: Judge says students can sue president for T-shirt censorship,” Greg Piper
- Reason, “Judge says Iowa State wrong on all counts in free speech case,” Robby Soave
- Iowa State Daily, “Judge denies request to dismiss NORML ISU lawsuit,” Matthew Rezab
FIRE applauds Paul, Erin, and all of the student-plaintiffs who have already joined us in standing up for free speech on campus. If you’re a student and you’ve been censored by your college or university, FIRE wants to help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Stand Up For Speech website to learn more about the project.
Check back with The Torch for more updates, and help spread the word by tweeting #standup4speech.