Education

Pro-Life Groups Win $30,000 Settlement From University

James Burton Contributor

A 2013 civil suit between the University at Buffalo and two pro-life groups over their freedom to protest has finally reached a settlement, with the two organizers, UB Students for Life and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, receiving $30,000 for attorney fees.

The settlement does not require the university to admit to wrongful behavior but agrees to not engage in discriminatory enforcement at future events. The American Freedom Law Center, a nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, defended the two pro-life groups.

“We set out to prove that the university has a constitutional obligation to defend its students’ rights to free speech,” said Robert Muise, attorney for the AFLC, “and they agreed.”

The original suit detailed how a pro-choice counter protest impeded the free speech rights of the university-approved pro-life event, specifically two student organizers of the UB Students for Life. The court did not require the university to admit to violating the students’ constitutional rights but the settlement clarified the legal obligation to the students and the Students for Life as a whole. The lawsuit did not seek monetary damages.

In response to the original suit in 2013, the university made changes to its management of protests and student groups, Muise said. A pro-life event happening after the suit was filed went on without incident.

The UB Students For Life and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform could not be reached for comment by time of publication.