Published On: Sat, Mar 7th, 2015

University of Georgia revises ‘free speech zone’ and ‘speech permit’ policies

The University of Georgia has revised its “speech zone” policy in light of a lawsuit Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of a student group. The university’s new speech policy no longer limits student free-speech activities to less than one percent of the college’s main campus or requires students to obtain a permit to use the remainder of campus.

ADF attorneys representing the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty voluntarily withdrew their lawsuit in light of the university’s revised policy.

“Universities cannot function as a marketplace of ideas if free speech is limited to less than one percent of campus,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “We commend the University of Georgia for understanding this and revising its speech policy so that students can speak more freely throughout campus without fear of punishment.”

Global Dispatch 200x119In March 2011, Young Americans for Liberty, a non-partisan political student organization, conducted a debt clock display to draw attention to the mounting national debt. University officials told YAL they needed to cease their expressive activities because it was outside the speech zones. ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Georgia v. Morehead, in May 2014 over the speech zones.

YAL can now speak more freely, host informational tables and displays, and use hand-held signs on campus outside the designated speech zones without fear of punishment from university officials. The university’s previous speech policy greatly restricted YAL’s activities and those of all other students and student groups on campus.

“That makes this a victory for everyone,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “The First Amendment protects the constitutional freedoms of all students, regardless of their political and religious beliefs.”

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