Lawton v. Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska

August 2021
University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Public college or university)
Lincoln, NE, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Courtney Lawton

    Courtney Lawton was a graduate student and English instructor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Rally or protest
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Left wing
  • Incident Responses:
    Student sanctioned
  • Incident Status:
    In litigation Federal District Court
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


In 2017, Courtney Lawton protested against the conservative student group Turning Point USA in a designated “free speech zone” near the university’s student union. Lawton’s lawsuit, which she filed in the District Court for the District of Nebraska in August 2021, alleges that the university’s president criticized Lawton’s action on Twitter and that, under pressure from state politicians, the university fired her from her instructor position in September, 2017 without an adjudication process. Lawton argues that she was permanently banned from teaching for the rest of her time as a graduate student, and that this constituted unconstitutional retaliation for exercising her First Amendment rights.