Student behind free speech video reacts to $17,000 settlement

FRESNO, Calif. - A fight to keep a message alive, and Thursday, a win.

"To have a university professor go and recruit students to help him to erase messages, that is not part of free speech," Fresno State graduate student Bernadette Tasy said. "That is censorship." 

Tasy is the student behind this video, heard repeatedly telling Fresno State Assistant Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher, her group had permission to write what they did on campus sidewalks back in May.

Thatcher and several of his students, seen smudging out the pro-life messages with their feet.

Thursday, group Alliance Defending Freedom announcing a hefty settlement against Thatcher.

$15,000 to cover attorney fees, $1,000 in damages to each student, and according to the group, and an injunction to keep Thatcher from interfering with Tasy's organization ever again.

"His settlement sends a strong message," ADF attorney Travis Barham said. "If you try to squelch the free speech rights of students, there are consequences, and you will be held accountable." 

"In order to be able to exercise our free speech, we need to have university campuses and professors behind that, and they need to be encouraging our free speech," Tasy said. "And this case is so important to outline exactly what that means for us."

The attorneys also say Thatcher will go through a free-speech training. We reached out to him, but were not able to get a hold of Thatcher for comment.

Attorneys tell us Thatcher, not the university, will have to pay that settlement.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 

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