Laramie Church Elder Files Injunction Against University of Wyoming Officials
Attorneys argue Todd Schmidt will suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if not allowed back on campus
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Jul 04, 2023
Church elder Todd Schmidt has filed an injunction against University of Wyoming officials demanding his ban from campus be rescinded. (Credit: Todd Schmidt/Facebook)
By Ellen Fike
Special to the Wyoming Truth
A Laramie church elder has filed an injunction against the University of Wyoming’s president and dean of students, asking a judge to rescind his one-year ban from campus as soon as possible.
Todd Schmidt, who was banned from the UW campus in December, filed the injunction against UW President Ed Seidel and Dean of Students Ryan O’Neil in U.S. District Court on June 28. Earlier last month, Schmidt sued both officials for allegedly violating his constitutional rights when they initiated the ban last December.
With this new filing, Schmidt’s attorneys demanded that Seidel and O’Neil stop applying certain university policies to “censor disfavored views and, particularly, Schmidt’s opinion on the sexual identity of Artemis Langford,” a transgender student who has attracted national media attention for joining the Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) Sorority.
The attorneys also argued that Schmidt should not be banned from the campus simply because he expressed an opinion about Langford.
“In the absence of a preliminary injunction, Schmidt will suffer irreparable harm, specifically, he will lose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” the filing said.
Schmidt was banned from campus after he posted a sign on his table inside the Wyoming Union — a public gathering space — that stated “God created man and woman and Artemis Langford is a man.”
Schmidt, an elder at Laramie Faith Community Church, had been a regular at the Union for 17 years, the lawsuit stated.
According to Schmidt’s lawsuit against Seidel and O’Neil, Schmidt became interested in Langford in November 2022 after hearing a news report on a radio talk show about Langford’s induction into UW’s chapter of KKG. Schmidt believes the regular presence of a biological man in a house of sorority sisters is unwise and unsafe.
Six current and former KKG members have since filed a lawsuit against the sorority and Langford for allegedly breaking its bylaws and allowing the transgender woman to join.
On Dec. 2, Schmidt displayed the sign about Langford in the Union. According to the lawsuit, it was not intended to target Langford personally or offend anyone; rather, Schmidt intended to convey the message to the entire campus community.
Within about 15 minutes, a group of students crowded around Schmidt’s table in an apparent attempt to block the message. When Schmidt tried to engage the students in discussion about the sign, they told him that his messaging was inappropriate, the lawsuit stated.
Thirty minutes after Schmidt displayed the sign, O’Neil came to the table and questioned the message. Twenty minutes later, she returned and informed Schmidt that his message violated university policy, according to the suit.
Schmidt said he did not understand how he had violated university rules, and O’Neil did not elaborate. She instructed him to remove Langford’s name from the sign, that suit stated.
Following student protests and calls from alumni to ban Schmidt from campus, O’Neil did exactly that on Dec. 7, suspending him from tabling privileges at the Union for one year.
O’Neil specified that there had been multiple complaints about Schmidt and a report that Schmidt engaged in “discriminatory harassment,” although he claims in the lawsuit that he is unaware of any complaints about him.
Schmidt also argues in the lawsuit that his behavior did not discriminate against Langford, who also did not suffer “adverse consequences” from the sign.
UW spokesman Chad Baldwin declined to comment when contacted on Monday afternoon.