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Media Report on Free Speech Lawsuit Against Iowa State Going Forward

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:

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 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.

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