385 number of campus victories

The Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to providing students and student organizations with support and information as they face escalating attacks on their free speech and religious freedom at America’s public universities.

ADF has successfully litigated more campus cases than all other efforts combined, securing nearly 400 victories for campus free speech since its founding. ADF has a 100% success rate against anti-free speech zones on America’s college and university campuses.

All students should be protected to freely speak and engage in the marketplace of ideas on campus under the First Amendment.

If you are a student who would like our help in addressing free speech or other violations of your First Amendment rights, contact us today.

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100% success rate against
anti-free speech zones

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. We accomplish this through litigating cases, collaborating with advocates, training attorneys, and funding cases.

On university campuses, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to ensuring freedom of speech and association for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

In today’s increasingly aggressive and polarizing political climate, it is more important than ever that universities teach students to engage civilly with other viewpoints. College students are the future of our society and government: they must be able to respectfully disagree and share opposing viewpoints if we expect them to become successful leaders.

Public universities are bound by the First Amendment and therefore may not punish students for their beliefs. When they do, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom is here to step in.


86% win percentage in
direct litigation

Many public universities use terms like “offensive,” “demeaning,” and “uncomfortable” in their speech codes to unconstitutionally silence students. Others abuse “non-discrimination policies” to limit the free association of student groups by denying their right to set standards for membership or leadership. Still others use arbitrary “speech zones” to silence dissenting voices.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is here to fight back. Our attorneys have earned an almost 90 percent success rate in challenging violations of students’ First Amendment rights. Since its founding in 2006, CAF’s advocacy efforts have resulted in hundreds of American campuses being changed for the better.

CAF has litigated federal lawsuits against over a dozen colleges and universities in the last year alone. Here is some of what we’re working on right now:

Young Americans for Freedom v. University of Florida Board of Trustees

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a student organization, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Florida for failing to distribute money collected from mandatory student fees to student organizations in a fair, viewpoint-neutral manner. The University granted complete discretion to the student government to distribute over $20,000,0000 in mandatory fees paid by students. The Student Government, in turn, denied the non-partisan Young Americans for Freedom chapter status as a “budgeted organization,” denied their request for event funding for conservative speakers (while doling out thousands of dollars for progressive speakers), maintained a complex and discriminatory process for obtaining that status, and also changed its special funding policy in a manner that singled out the pro-liberty, student-led group.

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Ratio Christi at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs v. Sharkey

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, on behalf of Ratio Christi, a Christian student organization, filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), for forcing the group to accept members and officers that don’t share the group’s beliefs. The university refused to grant Ratio Christi registered status because it only allows those who share and personally hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission to serve as its leaders.

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South Carolina Politics Club v. Osborne

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represented the South Carolina Politics Club (SCPC), a student-led, non-partisan student organization, in a federal lawsuit against the College of Charleston after the college refused to recognize it as a registered student organization—claiming it was “too similar” to a partisan club on campus. Without recognition, the club was denied access to meeting rooms, funding, and other resources available to recognized organizations. The lawsuit pointed out that the school cannot deny recognition based on perceived similarity of purpose and contends that the school’s decision is arbitrary and unjustified, resulting in unconstitutional discrimination against SCPC.

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Young America’s Foundation v. Berthelsen

Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Minnesota (UMN) after its officials suppressed and censored conservative viewpoints using its “Large Scale Events Policy.” The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the policy, which officials used to restrict, relocate, and downsize an academic lecture delivered by Ben Shapiro and hosted by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and student group Students for a Conservative Voice (SCV).

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Students for Life at Ball State University v. Hall

BSU Students for Life applied to receive $300 from mandatory student activity fees to share educational resources with pregnant and parenting students. However, Ball State officials denied the club’s request because of its pro-life stance. Yet the Student Activity Fee Committee distributed funding from the same pool to organizations that advocate for opposing viewpoints. Each member of Students for Life paid their mandatory student activity fees of over $1,000 per year, but then were denied equal access to that funding.

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