Murakowski v. University of Delaware

From June 2005 to September 2008
University of Delaware (Public college or university)
Newark, DE, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Maciej Murakowski

    Maciej Murakowski was a student at the University of Delaware.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
    University investigation issuing in sanctions
    Student sanctioned
  • Incident Status:
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Maciej Murakowski was a student at the University of Delaware. In June 2005, he established a website using the university’s server that contained essays authored by him addressing a variety of topics. Some of these topics referenced violence and sexual abuse, which Murakowski later claimed were included for shock effect and in the spirit of satire.

Following student complaints about the website, Murakowski was charged with violating the university’s computing policy and with disruptive conduct. Following an administrative hearing, Murakowski was found not guilty of violating the computing policy, but guilty of disruptive conduct and “failure to comply” with university instructions (he had used his access card to enter his residence hall after being banned). The punishment imposed was that Murakowski was suspended from the university and banned from campus through the end of the fall 2007 semester and placed on deferred expulsion through graduation.

Murakowski filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware against the university, alleging § 1983 violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Murakowski and the university filed cross motions for summary judgment, and on September 4, 2008, the court granted in part and denied in part both motions. Murakowski’s motion on his claim for the violation of his rights under the First Amendment was granted, and the court ordered the university to pay nominal damages.