FSU settles discrimination case with ousted Catholic student government official for criticizing social justice groups
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) – A former student president of the FSU Senate has come to an agreement with the university after he was ousted from his role in the student government for expressing religious objections to the ACLU and the Black Lives Matter organization.
The deal comes as legislation to protect freedom of speech and point of view awaits the governor’s signature.
“I never imagined I would be fired for being a Christian,” former FSU Student Senate Chairman Jack Denton said in a new video released by the Defending Freedom Alliance.
Denton has found himself at the center of the controversy after voicing his concerns in a private text by a group of Catholic students.
“A member of the focus group asked us to financially support organizations that advocate for causes contrary to our Catholic faith,” Denton said in the video.
Denton told students in the chat that BLM’s advocacy for transgender issues and the ACLU’s advocacy for abortion rights were at odds with the Catholic faith.
When the texts leaked, they went viral on campus.
Denton was removed from his post in the student government after a vote of no confidence last June.
Logan Spena is part of the Defending Freedom Alliance, which helped Denton pursue college.
“They actually created and applied a religious test for the office,” Spena said. “The constitution protects the right of everyone, regardless of religion or expression, to participate in government in this way. “
State Representative Spencer Roach said the incident highlighted what he describes as an attack on diversity of thought on college campuses.
“There really is this kind of thought and culture cancellation policing,” Roach said.
He sponsored a law passed this year that would ensure due process for student civil servants like Denton.
“To make sure it gets fair and equitable treatment when it’s canceled or silenced,” Roach said.
A Supreme Student Court ruling in late October restored Denton’s role as Speaker of the Senate, which he held until his graduation in fall 2020.
In the end, Denton settled with the university in Federal Court for $ 10,000 in damages and just over $ 1,000 in back wages.
In a statement, the university said it “remains committed to protecting the right of its students to have and practice their religious beliefs without being persecuted. Every student, regardless of religion, has the right to participate in student organizations and hold positions in student government.