by Jennifer Tiedemann
This morning, the Goldwater Institute is in an Orlando courtroom trying to score a touchdown for free speech rights.
Like most American college students, University of Central Florida (UCF) kicker Donald De La Haye enjoyed communicating with his friends and followers on social media—but his passion for posting videos to YouTube cost him his spot on the football team and the scholarship making his education possible, forcing him to withdraw from school and putting his pursuit of a college degree on hold. Both before and during his time at UCF, Donald built an impressive following on YouTube, with countless viewers subscribing to his entertaining videos featuring his life as a college student and student athlete. His broad following also allowed him to receive modest compensation from YouTube for his original content—and UCF would not stand for that. In the summer of 2017, the University removed Donald from its football team and rescinded his scholarship due to his receipt of modest ad revenue from YouTube videos.
The Goldwater Institute and Texas Public Policy Foundation stepped in to defend Donald’s rights, filing a lawsuit in January challenging UCF’s actions as a violation of Donald’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. Today, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida will hear argument in the University’s motion to dismiss the case.
You can read more about De La Haye v. Hitt here—stay tuned for updates in this case.
Jennifer Tiedemann is the communications manager at the Goldwater Institute.