The right to free speech that is protected by the First Amendment is something that many people are willing to fight to preserve. Oregon State University recently agreed to pay out $101,000 to end a lawsuit over newspapers and distribution boxes the university trashed.
A former student brought the lawsuit against the university after it trashed the newspapers and distribution boxes of “The Liberty,” a conservative newspaper, in 2009. University officials acknowledged removing those boxes and dumping them at the edge of campus. The boxes of a larger student newspaper, “The Daily Barometer,” remained untouched.
Some lower-ranking campus officials claim “The Liberty” distribution boxes were removed to help facilitate traffic and beautify the campus. Top officials claim they had no knowledge of the destruction.
An attorney for the newspaper issued a written statement that says the university has changed the unconstitutional policy and has done the right thing by “compensating the students for the violation of their First Amendment freedoms.” All approved student groups are now allowed to distribute newspapers that they publish on campus.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Oregon State University was at fault. While the university didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, it did agree to the $101,000 payout, which led to the lawsuit being formally dismissed.
Anyone who feels their right to free speech has been violated might have the right to seek compensation. Knowing how to navigate through the civil claims and civil appeals procedures might make the process more inviting since knowledgable advocates can avail you of realistic options you may have for redress.
Source: OregonLive, “Oregon State University pays $101,000 to settle First Amendment lawsuit over trashed student newspaper” Betsy Hammond, Apr. 02, 2014