Speech First drops lawsuit against Iowa State University


The Campanile and the carillon are frequently known as the “Bells of Iowa State.” The Campanile stands tall with 50,000 bricks and 50 bells.

Sage Smith

A recent lawsuit against Iowa State University by Speech First, Inc. has been dropped, according to a Friday statement from President Wendy Wintersteen.

After seeing the university’s response and evidence, Speech First chose not to continue with the lawsuit challenging three policies. The information submitted to the court by the university showed the policy and practice does not unconstitutionally restrict the speech of students based on the content of speech or speaker’s viewpoint, according to the statement.

Iowa State University and Speech First entered into a settlement agreement confirming the dismissal of the lawsuit.

Wintersteen said in her statement that as a public institution, “Iowa State University fully embraces its role as a First Amendment campus and is deeply committed to the constitutional protections of free expression.”

In a statement from Speech First about the settlement agreement, Speech First said the university made several changes to the challenged policies including abandoning its prohibition on political emails sent by students and abandoning its chalking ban.

Speech First stated Iowa State University now agrees to never reinstate the political email policy or the chalking ban. The Campus Climate Reporting System will not contact or meet with students accused of “biased” speech.

The nonprofit organization said they will continue to monitor the university and its approach to students’ freedom of expression.

“Speech First is pleased that Iowa State University has agreed to repeal and never reinstate the policies we challenged, which clearly violated the First Amendment rights of its students,” said Speech First President Nicole Neily, in the statement. “Our student members at Iowa State University deserve major credit for their vigilance in defense of their rights, and I have no doubt that if the University’s new policies are used to chill students’ speech in the future, our members will notify us immediately.”