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University must pay fired blogger $100K

Last updated on 07/28/2016

The harassment allegation sure is familiar, but the terrorism accusation is a new one. The ACLU took his case pro bono. Here’s the report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

By July 26, 2016

Adams State University will settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former ASU professor who says the school violated his free speech and due process rights when it banned him from campus over blog posts criticizing the university’s pay practices.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced in a press release yesterday that ASU agreed to rescind the “No Trespass Order” it enacted against Danny Ledonne and will pay $100,000 to settle the lawsuit the ACLU of Colorado brought on Ledonne’s behalf in February.

Ledonne was banned from campus in October 2015, two days after he began blogging critically about ASU administrators on his Watching Adams blog. Ledonne taught in the Mass Communication department and did media production work for ASU between 2011 and 2015. After ASU didn’t renew his contract in the spring of that year, he launched Watching Adams.

After banishing Ledonne, ASU repeatedly said that the former professor had not been targeted for his protected speech. But we pointed out numerous inconsistencies in the school’s story here on The Torch. Specifically, we noted that the persona non grata policy used to ban Ledonne had only been enacted the day after Ledonne’s first critical post appeared. Within 24 hours, ASU’s police chief personally delivered a trespass notice to Ledonne at his home.

… Other ASU missteps that may have led to the settlement include “multiple unsubstantiated public claims” by ASU President Beverlee McClure in the wake of Ledonne’s banishment that he “had engaged in ‘harassment,’ ‘direct and indirect threats,’ and ‘terrorism.’” The ACLU of Colorado said in its release that the university was unable to produce a single piece of evidence to substantiate those allegations during litigation. …

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