“If American doesn’t commit to changing the way it handles these investigations, other students will still have to fear being investigated for pure speech.”
It’s amazing that this investigation even happened in the first place.
From the FIRE blog:
VICTORY: 43 days later, American University finally ends investigation into pro-choice law student
On Thursday — after more than six weeks of investigation — American University administrators finally cleared a student of a bogus harassment charge for sharing his pro-choice opinions in a private group chat.
Daniel Brezina is one of eight law students who’d been under investigation since May 25 for commenting in a back-and-forth about abortion. Another student said their pro-choice commentary in the student-created group chat harassed and discriminated against him based on his religious, pro-life beliefs.
“I’m glad that the school has cleared me, but this investigation should never have happened in the first place,” Brezina said. “If American doesn’t commit to changing the way it handles these investigations, other students will still have to fear being investigated for pure speech.”
Brezina worked with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression to vindicate his rights. It is unclear whether American also cleared the other seven students on Thursday.
“Law students should be encouraged to passionately debate the day’s big legal issues without the threat of a formal investigation looming over every disagreement,” said FIRE attorney Alex Morey. “American’s discriminatory harassment policy still suggests students can report their peers who offend them, and that a single offensive comment can equal discriminatory harassment. That’s a totally incorrect interpretation of the law and American needs to revise this bad policy now so this doesn’t happen again.”
The student complainant has until July 15 to appeal the decision.
American’s disciplinary investigation stemmed from a class group chat in which the accused students discussed the ramifications of Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
On May 2, in their class section’s GroupMe chat, students criticized the leaked Supreme Court opinion and discussed options to protest and donate money to abortion advocacy groups.
The student who later filed the harassment complaint wrote that, “as a Republican, I find it insulting that conservatives would be thought of as overturning people’s civil rights…”
Another student responded, “Can we shut the fuck up about personal opinions while people process this?”
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.