As reported in the Technique recently, Orit Sklar and Ruth Malhotra filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Georgia Tech officials over two years ago. I’ve followed this case closely first as a student and now as an alumnus, and the case continues to be misrepresented and the plaintiffs’ victories minimized.
Sklar v. Clough challenged a number of Tech policies and programs, including the Safe Space program which advocated certain religions and denominations based on how “tolerant” they are of homosexuality. The recent Court order states that “Plaintiffs have … violated the Establishment Clause by favoring one religion over another in the state-associated Safe Space Program,” and “directs Defendants to remove the religious/spirituality materials….”
For simply asking that students’ rights be protected, Sklar and Malhotra have been met with an incredibly extreme and vicious reaction – from racial slurs and libelous pieces to terroristic death threats and rape threats. For several months, Malhotra even had to go to class escorted by police cars. I am not implying that they are victims, but rather demonstrating the extent that people who claim to be tolerant will resort to when their thought monopoly is threatened.
As a student myself, I witnessed many of the problems stemming from the Tech administration’s failure to treat all students equally. I am proud of Sklar and Malhotra for taking a stand for free speech and religious liberty and for investing their time and effort to ensure that changes were made.
I hope that my alma mater will learn from this lawsuit and respect the civil rights of every student.