Esfeller v. O’Keefe

From October 2006 to August 2010
Louisiana State University (Public college or university)
Baton Rouge, LA, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Terrance Esfeller

    Terrance Esfeller was a student at Louisiana State University (LSU).

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
    Student sanctioned
  • Incident Status:
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Terrance Esfeller was a student at Louisiana State University (LSU). In 2006, Esfeller was charged by the LSU Office of Judicial Affairs with four non-academic misconduct violations, including “extreme, outrageous or persistent acts, or communications that are intended or reasonably likely to harass, intimidate, harm, or humiliate another.” These charges arose out of Esfeller’s adverse interactions with his ex-girlfriend.

Esfeller filed suit in the United States District Court of the Middle District of Louisiana against various university administrators, alleging violations of § 1983 and 1988, the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Esfeller alleged that the LSU code of conduct was facially and as-applied overbroad and vague. He also asserted that LSU deprived him of procedural due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to provide sufficient notice and an opportunity to be heard in the disciplinary proceeding. He sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief invalidating and restraining enforcement of LSU’s code and “enjoining defendants from enforcing the disciplinary punishment levied against” him.

The district court denied preliminary injunctive relief, finding that that Esfeller was unlikely to succeed on the merits of either claim. The district court also granted the dismissal of all Fifth and Sixth Amendment and FERPA claims. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order denying preliminary injunctive relief, holding that LSU’s code is neither overbroad nor vague and that Esfeller was not denied due process.