Controversial Texas legislator Briscoe Cain is preparing to file a free speech lawsuit against Texas Southern University, alleging that the school denied him of his constitutional right to free expression when it canceled his scheduled appearance on campus last week amid student protests. From the Dallas News:
The debate over academic free speech has ramped up this year as colleges and universities across America grapple with who should be invited to their campuses. Citing security concerns, Texas A&M University recently canceled an event featuring white supremacist Richard Spencer, and TSU disinvited Sen. John Cornyn from being a commencement speaker after student outcry.
News of the suit comes as the law school dean and central administration continue to clash over Cain’s speech, which Lane said was canceled because the student group that organized it was not registered with the student services department at the main campus.
TSU’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative law organization with local branches across the country, is registered with the law school’s Student Bar Association but not with student services on the main campus. Interim Dean James Douglas, who heads the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, has characterized the cancellation as a free-speech violation.
TSU officials say that the cancellation was a result of the event not being cleared through channels of review, and because the invitation was extended by a non-registered campus organization.
Protests real and threatened against conservative lawmakers on campus have become a recurring story line at Texas Southern, as Sen. John Cornyn was disinvited from delivering the school’s commencement address in May.
WASHINGTON – Amid fears of student protest, Texas Southern University has canceled a commencement address set to be delivered by Sen. John Cornyn. Cornyn, a Texas Republican and the second-ranking member of the Senate, was scheduled to speak at the historically black college’s graduation ceremonies Saturday in Houston.