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Journalism student sues ASU, citing free speech rights

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ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix. (Photo: The Republic)

An Arizona State University journalism student is suing the school after she says she was removed from leading the student-run radio station over a controversial tweet.

The lawsuit claims that the university violated Rae’Lee Klein’s First Amendment rights to free expression by refusing to allow her to continue as station manager of Blaze Radio because of her tweet.

The university, in a statement to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday, refuted that claim, saying, “Klein’s conduct in the aftermath of the tweet — rather than the tweet itself — meant that she was no longer able to perform the job for which she was hired.”

But Klein said she was first scolded about her tweet and later scolded for her media appearances and conversations with elected officials as her situation gained attention. 

“They were first upset by my free speech and now they’re upset that I’ve become this cause célèbre for free speech, so it’s just disappointing to see them keep taking the same stance and not want to work or correct the situation,” Klein told The Republic. 

Jack Wilenchik, Klein’s attorney, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on Monday against ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Kristin Gilger, Cronkite interim dean.

Klein faced swift backlash from within and outside her radio station after a tweet she posted in the aftermath of police shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23. Klein shared a New York Post article with graphic details from a police report accusing Blake of sexual assault.

The Aug. 29 tweet, deleted later, was captioned, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be

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Justice Department Sues Yale University Over Admissions Practices

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The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Yale University, alleging the school violated federal civil-rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants in undergraduate admissions.

In the complaint, filed in federal district court in Connecticut, the Justice Department alleged that for the past few decades Yale’s “oversized, standardless, intentional use of race has subjected domestic, non-transfer applicants to Yale College to discrimination on the ground of race.”

The lawsuit marks an escalation of the Trump administration’s scrutiny of elite colleges over their policies on race and admissions. The Justice Department has also supported legal efforts to end affirmative action at Harvard University, and the Education Department last month said it would investigate racism at Princeton University.

Yale didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in 2017 that it would redirect resources toward probing and suing universities over their affirmative-action policies, part of a broader rightward shift the division has taken under President Trump. The division has made other sweeping changes to policy on civil-rights enforcement, police reform and other areas.

“All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents, and achievements and not the color of their skin,” said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”

The Justice Department began investigating Yale in 2018, based on a 2016 complaint filed with the Justice and Education Departments by a group of Asian-American organizations, led by the Asian American Coalition for Education.

The federal government threatened the suit back in August, when it issued the findings of a two-year review of Yale’s undergraduate admissions practices. At the time,