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Chike UzuegbunamAlliance Defending Freedom

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ATLANTA, Georgia (LifeSiteNews) – A public college in Georgia will pay more than $800,000 to settle with a Christian student it illegally stopped from talking to students about his faith on campus.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) announced the settlement on June 22 as part of a six-year battle that included a Supreme Court ruling in 2021.

Most of the more than $800,000 will go to attorneys fees.

“After more than five years of litigation and an important mid-litigation Supreme Court victory for Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford, Georgia Gwinnett College officials have agreed to settle the case, giving Uzuegbunam and Bradford the justice they were seeking all along,” ADF announced. “Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent the two former students, whom college officials stopped from sharing their faith on campus when they were enrolled there.”

“This settlement represents a victory not only for Chike and Joseph but also for many other students who wish to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms on the campuses of Georgia’s public colleges and universities,” ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham stated in a news release.

“For five years, Georgia Gwinnett College officials have tried again and again to dodge accountability for their illegal actions in violating Chike’s and Joseph’s rights, even after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked them,” Barham stated. “But after the district court put a stop to that, the college has finally decided to stop fighting the Constitution. This case should also remind other colleges and universities nationwide of the need to respect their students’ liberties. If they do not, they can and will be held accountable.”

“We are pleased that the wrong done to our clients has been righted,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “The Supreme Court saw the importance of addressing these legal violations on the merits, and so did the district court.”

Like his colleague Barham, Langhofer hopes this settlement will stop other higher education officials from punishing students for exercising their freedoms.

“Hopefully, this settlement will send a signal to college and university officials nationwide that students do not lose their constitutional rights at the campus gates, and that anyone who ignores these priceless freedoms can be held to account,” Langhofer stated.

The specific court case revolved around whether plaintiffs could sue for even “nominal damages” to maintain standing in a lawsuit. Justice Clarence Thomas agreed that they could.

“For purposes of this appeal, it is undisputed that Uzuegbunam experienced a completed violation of his constitutional rights when respondents enforced their speech policies against him,” Thomas wrote for the majority opinion.