Officials at the University of North Alabama are facing a dilemma: Intervene in plans announced by their student government to impeach their own president – or let the kids have their way and face a possibly huge liability.
The fight is over a threat by members of the student body government to impeach their president over his beliefs – he violated the “cancel culture’s” standards by suggesting a biblical perspective during Pride month.
But letting the students follow through on their threat to remove Jake Statom, who later apologized for his Instagram post, over his beliefs could cost the university, as Florida State University paid out nearly $100,000 just weeks ago to settle a lawsuit brought by its student senate president, Jack Denton, voted out by his fellow students after sharing Catholic faith in a private chat group.
In Denton’s case, it was the Alliance Defending Freedom that took care of the court details for his case, and spokesman Tyson Langhofer said the successful conclusion of the dispute means, “If you stand against cancel culture, you can win.
In fact, he noted that “students across the country” could take a message from Denton’s successful fight. And Denton agreed.
“I hope that my case will embolden other students to not be afraid to speak their mind and to share their religious convictions with others,” Denton explained at the time to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “When we engage in free speech, we make society better.”
Just the News reported on the University of North Alabama dilemma that Statom’s fellow students “warned that he will face impeachment proceedings if he does not resign.”
The school had stated that Statom has a “right to freedom of speech, even when it is offensive to others,” but hasn’t announced whether it will intervene in the students’ agenda or not.
The Just the News report noted that the school also must worry about “blowback” from legislators, because the state House Republican Caucus already has adopted a resolution “strongly oppos[ing] any effort to impeach, remove, or apply political pressure intended to force” Statom to resign.
The resolution blamed “the dangerous ‘Cancel Culture’ atmosphere that predominates on college campuses,” the report said, because it tries to harm “those who continue to adhere to traditional values, especially those rooted in fundamental religious teachings.”
ALToday reported State Rep. Jamie Kiel issued a statement, “My Republican colleagues and I recognize the courage it takes for college leaders to promote biblical principles and traditional values on campuses that are increasingly embracing the Cancel Culture and its ‘woke’ demands. Because our founding fathers considered the freedoms of speech and religion so important, they made them the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and Jake Statom was simply exercising the liberties that are guaranteed to him.”
State Sen. Larry Stutts explained, “Whether someone agrees with or opposes the stand that Jake Statom has taken, his constitutional right to speak freely and promote his religious beliefs must not be abridged with threats of impeachment and baseless attacks on his character.”
The resolution itself noted that the “university environment” is traditionally one that “promotes the free and open exchange of ideas – both conservative and liberal – and protects an individual’s right to their own religious beliefs, values, and moral standards.”
Statom already has rejected the Student Government Association’s demand he resign, citing his constitutional rights.
The “cancel culture” student government members had been offended by Statom’s posting of an image of a rainbow T-shirt that said, “Born this way? You must be born again.”
Being born again is a typical call for someone to become a Christian.
Statom’s apology noted that he was elected to represent all UNA students, and in posting that image he “fell short.”
In Denton’s earlier case, Judge Allen Winsor of the Northern District Court of Florida ordered the school to reinstate him after students actually voted to remove him.
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