Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Students for Life Stand Up for Free Speech

The Students for Life group at the University of South Alabama filed a federal complaint against the college for discrimination and for violation of their First Amendment rights. Free speech at the university is restricted to a few small “free speech zones,” and students must apply for a permit three days in advance. Students who want to exercise their constitutional rights outside of the free speech zones must get special permission.

Students for Life has a tradition of displaying a so-called Cemetery of the Innocents once each semester. They set up hundreds of white wooden crosses to represent the 56 million babies who have been aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade. For the past two years, the group has wanted to move its display to a larger space. That means they need to move outside of the tiny free speech zone. Other student groups have often been granted exemptions to the free speech zone policy, and many student groups have placed other displays without permission or punishment. But the pro-life students were told that their display is too controversial.

The group has filed a federal complaint about this discrimination. They’re demanding that the university permit free speech throughout its campus—like everywhere else in America. That would be in line with court decisions about free speech zones at other schools. Courts have ruled that students have free speech outdoors all over a college campus. The students’ lawyer makes the obvious point that universities are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas—not institutions where one point of view is excluded. A free speech zone is ridiculously unconstitutional anywhere in America, and it seems particularly odd on a university campus, but unfortunately, that’s where they are common. I guess that’s because the liberals have been using colleges for so many years to teach students all sorts of leftwing ideas.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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