In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, a former Georgia State University student says he was kicked out of the university’s athletic department for using the nickname Rice.
In the lawsuit, filed by student Joshua Stebbins, Stebbos’ attorney argued that the university was violating his constitutional rights when it denied him the chance to use its nickname “Rice University.”
“The University of Florida, under President Pam Bondi, repeatedly and falsely accused the University of Rice University of committing the very same ‘harassment’ in violation of the Constitution and the law,” Stebbsins attorney wrote in the lawsuit.
“The University’s response to these charges was to threaten and punish Mr. Stebbois for exercising his right to associate with the University.”
According to the lawsuit:The university’s lawyers argued in court papers that StebBos was expelled from the university for his use of the Rice nickname, but the student said he wasn’t expelled for violating university policies.
Instead, the university alleged in court filings that Stembos’ use of Rice was a “violation of university policies and procedures,” and that he was retaliated against for using Rice.
According to court papers, Rice University also accused Stebbings of using the Rice name to make his job at the school more difficult and to discourage his colleagues from associating with him.
The university denied all of Stebs claims in court documents.
“The allegation that Mr. Shultz is not a member of the University is false and is a fabrication,” the university said in court filing.
“He was a former student and a former employee, and he has been a part of the faculty and staff of Rice since its inception.
The allegations in the suit are false and are the result of an irresponsible, politically motivated effort to further a political agenda.”
Stebbss attorney, Andrew Hough, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rice is a nickname used by students at several public universities in the United States.
According to a statement issued by the school, “Ric Buckeye” is a play on the university name “RICE” and the “Reebok” company is a brand associated with the university.