An Arizona State University student has reached a settlement with the school following a lawsuit over the alleged violation of her First Amendment rights.
According to the Western Journal, Rae’Lee Klein was fired from her position as station manager at ASU’s Blaze Radio back in September after she tweeted a news article about Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
Klein captioned the article, which reported that Blake was wanted in connection with three charges related to an alleged sexual assault and that his victim was the individual who called police to the scene of the shooting, saying, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.”
In spite of her intention to simply provide more context behind the situation in Kenosha, Klein was slammed by progressive activists and ASU students as racist, leading Blaze Radio’s board of directors to vote to remove Klein from her position.
Initially, Klein was not told by staff exactly which rule she had broken. Later, however, a school dean told her she had broken an unwritten “social media guideline” about “not having opinions,” she told The Western Journal back in September.
The following month, Klein sued the university, the Arizona Board of Regents, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Cronkite Dean Kristin Gilger. In her suit, Klein claimed that the defendants had violated her First Amendment rights as well as an Arizona law protecting free speech on campuses, according to the Phoenix New Times.
Last year, Klein’s case was thrown out at the federal level by a U.S. district court judge, but Klein’s attorney expressed his intention to refile the state claim against the defendants at the time.
The plan to refile the suit was scrapped, however, after the university agreed to settle with Klein out of court. According to a statement released by the school on Thursday, ASU has denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay out a total of $7,040 “as reimbursement for certain of her school fees.”
Although Arizona State continues to deny any wrongdoing, or infringement of my 1st Amendment Rights, the settlement illustrates an understanding of their misjudgement and lack of support.
— Rae'Lee Klein (@RaeLeeKlein) February 25, 2021
Although the result is a far cry from the $500,000 she initially offered to settle for, Klein told The Western Journal on Monday that she is ultimately pleased with the outcome of the situation.
“What’s important to note about the case is it was never about financial gains or even getting my position back,” she stated. “It was really just to kind of make a new principle out of this cancel culture that’s running so rapidly, not only in ASU but across college campuses in the nation.”
“I think it’s a really dangerous game that people are playing,” Klein said. “And the lawsuit was really just about standing up to it and calling national attention to what’s going on. So I think in that sense, we definitely walked away very happy and satisfied with doing that.”
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