FSU Supreme Court reinstates student senate president, acknowledges First Amendment violations
An FSU student originally ousted after expressing negative views about the Black Lives Matter organization has been reinstated.
The school's student Supreme Court ruled that there was a First Amendment violation.
The student Supreme Court at Florida State University has reinstated Jack Denton to his position as president of the Student Senate after he was removed for his Catholic beliefs. During Denton’s lawsuit against FSU, the student Supreme Court at the school ruled that the other senators were not tolerant of Denton’s religious beliefs.
Denton was removed from his position as senate president in June due to his Catholic beliefs about BLM and other leftist organizations, as Campus Reform previously reported.
Denton expressed views that the Black Lives Matter organization has "explicitly anti-Catholic" beliefs.
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Leftist students at FSU pushed a petition to oust Student Senate President Jack Denton over comments in a group chat which were deemed offensive.
Screenshots of Denton’s comments in which he expressed concerns that certain activist organizations held views out of line with Catholic beliefs were posted to social media. Shortly after the screenshots were made public, a petition labeling him as "transphobic" and "racist" began circulating, calling for Denton's removal from the student government, as reported by Campus Reform.
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Denton filed a lawsuit against FSU with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom in early September due to the student government’s “unconstitutional retaliation” for his religious views.
ADF stated on its website, “Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit Monday against Florida State University administrators and student senate officials after they repeatedly failed to address unconstitutional retaliation against the president of the FSU Student Senate for sharing his personal religious beliefs with other students.”
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The lawsuit reported by Campus Reform states that the student government "breached its constitutional obligations" by removing Jack Denton.
“Student governments at public universities are the ultimate ground for experimenting with representative self-government in a diverse society. The Student Senate at Florida State University has failed its pedagogical purpose and breached its constitutional obligations by removing its presiding officer, Jack Denton, in retaliation for his private religious speech," the lawsuit stated.
ADF published a statement on its website October 26 commending the FSU Supreme Court for reinstating Denton to his position in the student government: “We commend the FSU Supreme Court for acting swiftly and decisively to reinstate Jack to his position as FSU’s Student Senate president while his federal lawsuit continues and for acknowledging the violations of his constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
“As the FSU Supreme Court concluded, the senators ‘during debate reveal that they were neither tolerant nor respectful’ of Jack’s religious beliefs. Further, the court reasoned, failure to reinstate Jack to his leadership position ‘would only deter participation’ in the university’s student government,'" ADF stated.
Campus Reform reached out to FSU, Denton, ADF, and the student senate for comment and haven’t received a response.
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