DeJong v. Pembrook

From February 2022 to July 2023
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Public college or university)
Edwardsville, IL

Identity of Speakers

  • Maggie R. DeJong

    Maggie R. DeJong is a graduate student in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Art Therapy program

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Right wing
  • Incident Responses:
    University administration changed university policy as a consequence
  • Incident Status:
  • Was Speech Code incident


In February, 2022, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) grad student Maggie DeJong filed a lawsuit against the University for violating her civil and connotational rights.  SIUE issued DeJong a no-contact order prohibiting her from communicating with fellow students in the aftermath of DeJong posting to social media, sending messages to fellow students, and engaging class discussions on array of topics including religion, politics, critical race theory, COVID-19 regulations and censorship.  Several of DeJong’s fellow students reported her speech to University, after which the no-contact order was issued which prohibited DeJong from having “any contact” or “even “indirect communication” with three fellow grad students who complained that her expression of religious and political viewpoints constituted harassment and discrimination.  Soon after, DeJong and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit against the University.

In March, 2023, a federal district court largely rejected the university’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit.

In July, 2023, both parties agreed to settle the case.  As part of the settlement, University officials agreed to revise both their policies and student handbook to ensure students with varying political, religious, and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program.  Additionally, the University agreed to pay DeJong $80,00.