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In an opinion authored by Judge D. Brooks Smith on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of Temple University student Christian DeJohn in DeJohn v. Temple University. The ruling upheld a previous decision stating that Temple's former sexual harassment policy was unconstitutional.

According to David Hacker, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and a lawyer for DeJohn, the language of the policy was too broad and allowed for too much to fall under harassment.

"Wording that broad allows university administrators to silence speech they don't agree with," said Hacker. "This is a speech code that has teeth and that chilled speech on campus."

Temple's original code prohibited, among other things, "generalized sexist remarks and behavior."

According to a university statement, which expressed disappointment at Monday's court ruling, "the former policy, adopted in 1990, tracked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's definition of sexual harassment."

In February 2006, DeJohn filed suit against Temple, arguing that Temple had violated his first amendment rights when denying him his masters degree due to his politics. This allegation was thrown out by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell in March 2007.

"It had nothing to do with his First Amendment rights and had everything to do with Temple professors' academic freedom to grade a student's poorly written, poorly constructed ... thesis," Temple attorney Joe Tucker told The Associated Press at the time.

In the suit, DeJohn also claimed that the harassment policy was violating the first amendment rights of all Temple students.

Dalzell upheld DeJohn's objections to the policy in his ruling and prohibited Temple from reinstating the policy, which the university had replaced in Jan. 2007.

According to the university, "Temple's current sexual harassment policy has not been challenged and is in full force and effect."

Monday's opinion from the appeals court upheld Dalzell's 2007 ruling.

"It was really great victory for all students at Temple," said Hacker. "Students don't have to fear about their first amendment rights."

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