Cases & Deals

University student permitted to return to school after his freedom of expression is defended

Clients University student

Following Jones Day's involvement and advocacy in the matter, George Washington University agreed to allow one of its students to return to school. A month earlier, the University had summarily suspended the student and barred him from campus for placing a small ornament on the community bulletin board in the dormitory of his fraternity. The student had hung the ornament, which was shaped as a Hindu svastika, in order to start a conversation with his fraternity brothers about the peaceful meaning of the symbol in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions. Although the University initially took the position that the svastika has an intrinsically anti-Semitic meaning and the student merited severe punishment for displaying it, Jones Day educated the University about the symbol's positive meaning in other cultures and the student's educational motive in hanging it. Jones Day argued that it would be inappropriate and unlawful for the University to punish the student without taking into account these key facts. Ultimately, the University reinstated the student and invited him to return to campus.