NAS Supports Freedom of Speech and Conscience in Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley

National Association of Scholars

PRINCETON, NJ (December 2, 2010)—The National Association of Scholars (NAS) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley

The NAS calls on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, refusing to enjoin Augusta State University from expelling counseling student Jennifer Keeton, for expressing her religious views on homosexuality. 

“A public institution can require professionally competent behavior, but not fidelity to particular moral doctrines or an abdication of the right to free speech,” said Steve Balch, chairman of the NAS. “The District Court lost sight of these distinctions. Its decision should be overturned.” 

After learning that Keeton believes homosexuality is a choice, not a “state of being,” the university ordered her to participate in “remediation activities,” which included “diversity sensitivity” training and a gay pride parade.  When she refused, she was expelled from Augusta State’s counseling program.  

The amicus brief states in part: 

As NAS has learned during its more than twenty years, many public university administrators have a substantial appetite for restricting student speech. So far, that administrator desire has been rightly checked by a solid line of court decisions. But if courts build a doctrine under which university-disfavored speech could be subjected to burdensome “remediation plans,” many university administrators will come to embrace it, and use it as a basis for a new generation of speech codes. 

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has also signed the brief. 

The National Association of Scholars works to protect freedom of speech in higher education. To learn more about NAS, visit www.nas.org

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CONTACT: Peter Wood, President, NAS: 609-683-7878; [email protected]

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