Illinois Student Sues University Over First Amendment Rights

Joshua Zale, an Illinois student at Moraine Valley Community College, is suing the university after he was barred from the college for allegedly using what Moraine Valley deemed an ‘an unacceptable word’ while acting out an improv skit.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Zale filed a suit against Moraine Valley Community College, accusing them violating his freedom of speech rights.
The suit claims that back in April, Zale was instructed to act as a┬ápimp trying to collect money during an improv exercise in his theatre class. Zale claims he confronted by his professor Craig Rosen after the class ended. Zale then claims Rosen told him the word he used during his improvisational performance was “unacceptable.”
Following subsequent meetings with Rosen, Zale was unable to register for classes. Zale, who is representing himself, is now asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to allow him to register for classes and award him monetary damages.
via Chicago Tribune:

The lawsuit states that Zale “is being penalized by defendants for the statements he made during an acting exercise in a course … and for his conduct in questioning the reasons for which he was being told his actions were inappropriate.”
Court records don’t mention the word Zale used during his class performance, but afterward his professor allegedly told him it was unacceptable. On April 20, Zale met with the instructor to find out why he had been chastised for using “a word which was precisely within the assignment he had been given,” according to the lawsuit.
Zale alleges that during the discussion, an assistant dean also accused him of “mistreating her as a woman” under Title IX, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday. Title IX is part of a 1972 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
Six days later, he received an email from the dean of students alleging he had violated the student code of conduct during the April 20 meeting by causing a disruption and for “physical/verbal abuse or harassment,” according to a copy of the email included in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that Zale is “being penalized by defendants for the statements he made during an acting exercise in a course and for his conduct in questioning the reasons for which he was being told his actions were inappropriate.”
Zale is seeking an unspecified sum in damages from the school, as well as a reinstate of his eligibility for classes.

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