Religious Freedom

This Professor Needs to be Reminded How the First Amendment Works

Members of Fresno State Students for Life were chalking positive, pro-life messages on the sidewalk leading up to the campus library when they saw other students erasing the messages.

Because Fresno State Students for Life members had gotten permission from school administration to do so, this came as a shock. So, chapter president Bernadette Tasy started recording. Watch what happened:




Yep, you heard right. Public health professor Gregory Thatcher told Bernadette that “college campuses are not free speech areas.” On top of that, he claimed that Fresno State Students for Life was only permitted to chalk messages in the speech zone on campus. Except that there are no speech zones on campus. The policies instead state that “freedom of expression is allowed in all outdoor spaces on campus.”

Yet, he still took it upon himself to recruit his students to erase the messages, even erasing them himself. And he absurdly claimed that he was exercising his free speech rights by censoring the students’ speech. Yet even Fresno State’s policies state the obvious:  “The right of self-expression does not extend to preventing self-expression by others.”

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit against Professor Thatcher on behalf of Fresno State Students for Life. This professor is teaching his students that the proper response to someone you disagree with is to silence their speech, rather than countering it with your own.

On Freedom Matters this week, we sat down with Bernadette and ADF attorney Casey Mattox to discuss the case.


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Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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