January 30, 2015 - Kennesaw, Ga: Kennesaw State University students walk on the KSU campus as Kennesaw Hall is shown in the background Friday afternoon, January 30, 2015, in Kennesaw, Ga.. PHOTO / JASON GETZ
Photo: Nedra Rhone/Talk of the Town
Photo: Nedra Rhone/Talk of the Town

Kennesaw State, student group settle campus speech lawsuit

A Kennesaw State University student organization agreed Wednesday to a settlement ending a lawsuit  it filed earlier this year that claimed officials intentionally restricted where and when the group could speak on campus.

Ratio Christi, which describes itself as a club that attempts to strengthen the faith of Christian students and evangelizes to non-Christians, filed the lawsuit in federal court in February, arguing the university’s rules were unconstitutional. The students said KSU officials repeatedly rejected the club’s preferred space to post a pro-life display, putting the club on a smaller location on campus. KSU officials called the display “controversial,” the club claimed.

Tyson Langhofer, an attorney representing the student group, said it agreed to the settlement after the university updated its Freedom of Expression policy, which now makes it easier for students to hold spontaneous activities on campus.

The student group will also receive a $20,100 settlement for attorney fees and damages, Langhofer said.

“University officials shouldn’t have discretion of who gets to speak and where they get to speak,” said Langhofer, director of the Center for Academic Freedom at the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Arizona-based alliance earlier this week reached a $1.2 million settlement with the city of Atlanta for former fire chief Kelvin Cochran over his firing after he authored a book that condemned homosexuality.

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