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Pushback: University’s blacklisting of a student quickly ends when confronted by lawyers

Boris Badenov: The school administrators at
Southern Illinois University

Today’s blacklist story came and went so quickly that no one in the press really ever had a chance to cover it. I however want to highlight it today because it tells us a great deal about today’s bankrupt academic culture, and its paper tiger nature if challenged.

On February 10, 2022, Jamie Ball, the director for Equal Opportunity, Access and Title IX Coordination at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, sent notices to Maggie DeJong, a student in the school’s Art Therapy Counseling Program, telling DeJong that she was forthwith forbidden to interact in any way with three other students.

Because DeJong attended classes and also worked at the same facility as these three students, the orders essentially blacklisted her from school through the end of the ’22 semester.

Ball provided no facts or reasons for the “no-contact” orders, other than saying that any contact between DeJong and these three students “would not be welcome or appropriate at this time.” Ball’s order also admitted that no harassment or violation of school policy had occurred. Her order was simply “to prevent interactions that could be perceived by either party as unwelcome, retaliatory, intimidating, or harassing.”

In other words, Ball was punishing DeJong for something that might happen, likely based on secret accusations made by those three students.

On February 23rd, less than two weeks later, lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent the school’s Chancellor, Randy Penbrook, a letter [pdf] outlining the illegality of this action, and demanding the no-contact orders be immediately rescinded.

Based on the above, we demand that you immediately rescind the three no-contact orders issued on February 10 and assure us in writing that the University will either (a) stop interpreting and enforcing its policies in this manner or (b) revise its policies to adequately safeguard students’ constitutional rights.

If you fail to comply with these demands by close of business on February 25, 2022, our client will have no option but to consider other avenues for vindicating her rights.

The university rescinded the no-contact orders immediately, but only ended a witch hunt investigation of DeJong when ADF lawyers demanded all correspondence and documents related to the investigation.

So, what does this quickly resolved story tell us?

First, this school’s “Equal Opportunity” director appears typical of too many such officials. She clear didn’t know the first thing about law, individual rights, or the first amendment. Instead, it appears she was running her department as a enforcement bureau for any gossip told her by leftist students, designed to squelch opposing opinions.

Second, the actions of those students suggests they too know nothing of basic American law. We don’t really know what happened between them and DeJong, but it doesn’t matter. DeJong has the right to her opinions, and more important, the right to express them publicly. If those opinions offend you then you better get a thicker skin, because freedom of speech allows people to offend you.

Taken together, points one and two tell us how bankrupt our public school system is. It is producing college teachers, administrators, and students who are not only ignorant, they are willingly intolerant and authoritarian.

Third, the quick surrender by the school demonstrates the importance of fighting back, hard. DeJong did not take her blacklisting lying down. She immediately sought counsel, and its actions quickly brought the school to heel. Had the university decided to fight, it knew it would have lost so badly that DeJong might have even won part ownership in it.

The same applies to many of my other blacklisting stories. The legal basis for the blacklisting is almost always indefensible. Fight it and you will win. Victory might happen quickly, as in this case, or take years, but inevitable win you will. In either case, the fact that you are willing to fight will strike terror into the hearts of these bullies.

Remember, freedom doesn’t exist without bravery. These petty dictators rely on your timidity. Show them you are brave, and they will run whimpering. More important, the proof that people are quite willing to fight them will act as a deterrent, preventing more such blacklisting.

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  • Bob Wilson

    Thanks for the story. And thanks for showing that conservatives can fight back. Too much of conservative commenters consists of pointing out outrages by the left but not giving any way to fight back. As the Paul Simon song goes, “don’t remind me of my failures for I have not forgotten them.” We are the majority but the left only rules because we let them. Consider making a contribution to the alliance defending freedom.

  • Jeff Wright

    Meanwhile Disney’s Cheaper By The Dozen doubles down on the Woke with a “Karen” who is a villain-because she isn’t part of Burn Loot Murder. From CBR.

  • Mitch S.

    I haven’t heard of them before but maybe the Alliance Defending Freedom is worth supporting.
    I’m not a “person of means” but I feel it’s important to support outlets that defend freedom and disseminate truth.
    While modest donations are small on their own, they can add up, and reaching into one’s pocket and pulling out some coin sends a more powerful message than just words of agreement.
    I shell out a bit to Project Veritas, Glen Greenwald an Matt Taibbi (on Substack) and this place. We need to support the warriors in this battle!

  • Mitch S. ADF is not the only legal organization doing this work. I will be highlighting another such organization tomorrow, with more to follow.

  • Alex Andrite

    … What is this class / course anyway ?? (Not side stepping the original issue Mr.Z., but …)
    “…an art therapy graduate student after classmates said her expression of religious and political viewpoints constituted “harassment” and “microaggressions.”
    Art Therapy ?

    whoa … check the art of the masters …. (no specifics for now, help me out)
    Harassment, Microaggression hanging on the wall in the Museum ?
    Zealots ??
    Poor Pablo cut off his ear ???

  • Alton

    On TGDOV: Day

    From the Hindustan Times (.) Com

    US President Biden says 14% of his 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ
    Joe Biden’s 1,500 federal agency appointees identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, he said on …


    My ❓ Question, since the Federal Schedule C employees appointed by the US President now numbers over 4,000 persons……

    What about ALL the Rest ???

  • Alton


    Remember that the -Zealots- we’re one of the two dozen early Christian Sects in Judea during the first century.

    Thus your use of the Word is a Micro Aggression against Today’s Woke-ists !!!

    Tally Ho !

  • Bob Wilson

    Mr. Zimmerman, no one said ADF was the only organization but they are extremely effective. they won the situation mentioned in the article. They have won numerous Supreme Court cases including the famous Colorado Baker case. As a badge of honor they were designated a terrorist organization by the Southern poverty Law Center because of their effectiveness. Full disclosure. I am a donor with a qualified charitable deduction from my IRA.

  • Bob Wilson: I wasn’t suggesting that you were implying ADF was the only game in town. Sorry if I gave that impression. I just wanted to note that we have more players fighting the good fight.

  • Observers

    Breaking news: Oberlin College Verdict was upheld by Ohio Supreme Court .

    The tide has turned.

  • Observers

    Sorry. Only 9th district. Not supreme court yet. My bad.

  • BLSinSC

    It’s GOOD that the issue was resolved – THIS TIME! But what about the NEXT TIME?? What I would rather see is for these “little injustices” turn into GIANT LAWSUITS that puts the UNIVERSITY on TRIAL!! If I had not read this here I would not have known the outcome nor the ISSUE itself that was a previous Blacklisted article!! What people should do is SUE – and SEEK COMPENSATION! Make these people PAY for their UNCONSTITUTIONAL PERSECUTIONS! THAT is the quickest and sometimes ONLY way to get attention! Don’t settle for a “recall” of an UNCONSTITUTIONAL attack – make them PRODUCE the NAMES of the “offended” and their REASONS !! Don’t get mad – GET EVEN – on yeah, and TAKE THEIR MONEY!!

  • Col Beausabre

    Alton, The Zealots were Jewish, not Christian

    “The Zealots were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66–70). Zealotry was the term used by Josephus for a “fourth sect” or “fourth Jewish philosophy” during this period.”

  • Rochelle

    I’d love to see the correspondence and communications to see what prompted this–probably some fear of being offended, or something similar

  • Alton

    Col. Beausabre

    Yes they were as were the other 23 Sects, but I have done many deep dives into Early Christian Lore over several decades, and the Zealots were one of several sects that went on to be the base of the early Christian Church.

    Wikipedia is many Times not a good source, and even when it is corrected by true Scholars with decades of studies and Multiple Degrees in the area of contention. The Progressives who operate the database return it to their flavor of the Day.

    As Ronald Reagan said Trust But Verify.
    And for Wiki Verify at least Thrice.
    They also have a habit of leaving out information they do not like.

    I know it is a very easy Source to use.

  • Edward

    BLSinSC asked: “It’s GOOD that the issue was resolved – THIS TIME! But what about the NEXT TIME??

    Will there be a next time? The whole point of pushing back it to let the enemy know that they do not have a right to trample other people’s rights. The sooner in the process that they learn this lesson, the fewer other people will have their rights trampled.

    An early, easy, inexpensive victory like this lets any future victims know that they, too, can regain their rights without long, difficult, expensive legal trials.

    Rather than the victim backing down and cowering from those who use color of authority to violate them, The victim fights back, and doesn’t even have to bloody anyone’s nose (figuratively, not Will Smithly) to keep his rights.

  • trixey fairfield

    hmmm seems to me if no less than three fellow students feel your behavior is so egregious that they really do not want to be around you or listen to you … maybe it is time to do some self-reflection. Something , from my observation anyway, is something the smug self righteous Christina types seem to be incapable of… as one who spent some time in the evangelical world…they definitely feel like their being “born again” means they have twice as many rights.

    Apparently she was not just annoying…and easy to dismiss or ignore. The details here are pretty sketchy but clearly for three students to go to that length to insure that that do not want to endure whatever she was spewing …there is something more going on here than her “talking about her faith”….

  • trixey fairfield: You obviously have not even read my post, or even looked at the picture at its top. “She” is a “he.”

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