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Naomi Mathew, Truman State University

From November 2019 to February 2020
Truman State University (Public college or university)
Kirksville, Missouri, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Naomi Mathew
    Student
    Other

    Naomi Mathew was a student at Truman State University and the Vice President of Animal Alliance, an animal rights student group.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other student-organized event
  • Incident Responses:
    Other
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

On November 21, 2019, a committee of students and administrators denied Naomi Mathew’s application to start an animal rights club called Animal Alliance at Truman State University, citing the “emotional risk” of potentially hostile student interactions and the “reputational risk” of associating with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). It was the third animal rights group in as many years to be denied school recognition. In response, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to Truman State President Susan Thomas asking her to recognize Animal Alliance and “stop violating students’ First Amendment Rights.”

Thomas responded that she supported Mathew’s expressive rights and pledged to reform Truman State’s student group recognition policies. Two months later, on February 10, 2020, Truman State officially recognized Animal Alliance and announced reforms of its student group policies.