After fighting four separate lawsuits filed against Chicago State University (CSU) in 2014, the institution has agreed to settle a First Amendment suit made by faculty and pay $650,000 after administrators attempted to silence a blog that criticized them.
University professors Dr. Phillip Beverly and Dr. Robert Bionaz filed the suit after university administrators threatened to pursue legal action against them if they did not shut down their faculty-run blog, the CSU Faculty Voice, which expressed their disapproval of perceived corruption and incompetence under former president Dr. Wayne Watson, according to The Fire.
Administrators claimed that the blog infringed on the university’s trademarks and did not line up with the importance of civility and professionalism that “are central tenants [sic] of the University’s values.”
Under the settlement, CSU agreed to adjust its unconstitutional cyberbullying and technology usage policies that were challenged in the lawsuit.
“I am disappointed that a public university was forced through litigation to protect the First Amendment rights of faculty, staff, and students,” said Beverly. “The final resolution of this case came only after a new president was hired. I am hopeful that the new administration will be mindful of the constitutional protections that we all enjoy and that scarce state resources won’t be squandered because of executive hubris and gross incompetence.”