SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane Falls Community College student who was barred from putting up an anti-abortion display is suing the college in federal court in Spokane.
Beth Sheeran says the college violated her free speech rights.
The official complaint Sheeran filed in court states that when Sheeran and the Spokane Falls Christian Fellowship wanted to hold a pro-life event at the College on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the College refused to allow the event. Court documents say the College told Sheeran and SFCF "that their pro-life display was 'offensive' and 'discriminatory.'"
According to documents, college officials also told Sheeran she would have to present opposing views in the display. Further, the College is stated to have told Sheeran and the SFCF that the event was 'biased' and they could face expulsion for "discriminating" or "offending" someone.
Court documents also state that an official showed Sheeran a copy of a Washington code that Sheeran and the SFCF would violate if they held the event. The code concerns discrimination policy.
Wash. Admin. Code 132Q-30-242 (as stated in Verified Complaint)
Discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, creed, age, sex, marital status, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in conformity with federal and state laws. Discrimination includes sexual or racial harassment which is defined as conduct that is: (1) Sexually or racially motivated and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's work or educational performance; and/or (2) Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment
In her suit, Sheeran states that the college had allowed a different event on campus that did not include opposing viewpoints. The event, "The J-Spot Lecture: Jay Friedman," is said to include discussions with college students about sexual technique and political and cultural attitudes toward sexual activity.
Sheeran, among other relief listed in the complaint, is seeking an injunction prohibiting the College from barring her anti-abortion display. Also sought is a declaration stating that the conduct restricting Sheeran's anti-abortion display is unconstitutional.
KHQ Local News reporter Anthony Gomes is gathering more information and will have a full report on KHQ Local News at 5 and 6.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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