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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, August 05, 2019

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: August 5, 2019

Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: August 5, 2019

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) University of Florida pays $66K to settle free speech case

The University of Florida has agreed to pay $66,000 and make some policy changes to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a conservative student organization.

Young Americans for Freedom claimed in the lawsuit filed in December that the school violated its members' free speech rights by denying equal access to student activity funds to pay for guest speakers.

The Gainesville Sun reports the university has agreed to change its student activity policy as part of the agreement. All groups will now have access to the money, regardless of views or beliefs. Student government will then approve the funding requests.

2.) Lawsuit in Nevada calls 'WTF Party' name a free speech right

A man who was told he couldn't create a "WTF Party" for political candidates in Nevada is suing state election officials in federal court, claiming his constitutional free speech rights are being violated.

Attorney Rick Hsu (SHU'), representing Jeffrey Berns of Sparks, pointed Thursday to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Hsu said upholds the right to form political parties. It's not clear where the party would stand on the political spectrum.

The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Reno says the Nevada secretary of state told Berns the third letter represents a profanity that might offend people and denigrate the election process - like a "Who Cares Party," an "Apathy Party" or a "Roll-the-Dice Party."

Berns' lawyers insist the letters have no profane meaning.

3.) Iowa Libertarians sue Sen. Claire Celsi for blocking constituents on Twitter

The Iowa Libertarian Party is suing state Sen. Claire Celsi for blocking several people, including some constituents, from following her on Twitter.

The lawsuit alleges Celsi, a Democrat who represents portions of Des Moines, West Des Moines and Warren County in the Iowa Senate, violated the free speech clause of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment "because the comment section of her Twitter account is a designated public forum within which the state may not discriminate against speakers based on their viewpoint."

Celsi told the Register Wednesday that she is accessible to her constituents by phone and email and through her Senate Facebook page. She said she's gone back and forth with it but does not think she was wrong to block people from following her Twitter account, which she considers personal.

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