Officials at a university in Illinois, who earlier outlandishly ordered a Christian student not to have any contact with three students who disagreed with her faith, now has dropped their review of that student.
The case developed when officials at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville ordered Maggie DeJong, a student in the master’s in art therapy counseling program, not to have “any contact” or even “indirect communication” with three students.
They had raised complaints to the school that they didn’t like – and were not tolerant of – her religious beliefs.
Now the Alliance Defending Freedom, which wrote a letter to the school on behalf of DeJong, has announced that the school “has dropped its investigation” into DeJong’s purported “harassment” and “microaggressions.”
Explained the ADF, “The university issued three ‘No Contact’ orders against Maggie DeJong demanding that she have no contact or even ‘indirect communication’ with three of her classmates. University officials rescinded the no-contact orders within days of receiving the letter ADF attorneys sent the university in February but had claimed DeJong was under investigation.
“It was only after ADF attorneys demanded that the university produce ‘all correspondence’ and ‘all documents’ related to students’ complaints and any investigation into DeJong that the university dropped its investigation,” ADF reported.
Tyson Langhofer, a spokesman for the organization, said, “The university was right to drop its baseless investigation into Maggie, but unfortunately, there should not have been an investigation in the first place.
“University officials should welcome dialogue from a wide range of religious and ideological viewpoints, modeling for students an environment where freedom of speech and religious expression can flourish. Yet Southern Illinois University Edwardsville officials stifled Maggie’s ability to meaningfully engage and participate in her academic program because she sometimes spoke from a religious point of view. The university must revise its policies to adequately safeguard the constitutionally protected freedoms of Maggie and every other student and ensure that no other students are subjected to baseless investigations for expressing their religious views.”
The organization explained the university had presented “no basis” for its original censorship, possibly because it acknowledged at the time that DeJong’s actions did not violate any university policy.
Instead, the school claimed that interactions that could develop would have been “perceived by either party as unwelcome, retaliatory, intimidating, or harassing.”
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