Free Speech No Longer Boxed In at Louisiana State University


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398px-LSU_Memorial_Tower_2Louisiana State University adopted a new speech policy shortly after Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of a student who was restricted by the university from distributing pro-life material beyond a 1,000 square foot area on campus.  The new policy states that students can now distribute material throughout campus without prior approval.

“Public colleges and universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We commend LSU for promptly revising its student speech policy to clarify that students can freely express themselves on the sidewalks and open spaces at the university.”

Last fall, Deanna Candler, wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity traditionally held in mid-October by handing out written material.  When she asked the University where she could hand the material out LSU told her that she could only do so in “Free Speech Alley” which consisted of 1000 square feet out of Louisiana State University’s 650 acres.

According to LSU’s prior policy and practice, students and student organizations may only distribute printed materials in this tiny speech zone. Also they are told that they must register with the Office of Campus Life to ensure that others have not already reserved the limited spaces in the zone.

“The university is supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” added Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “LSU’s revised policy now allows students to practice their constitutionally protected freedom of speech as America’s founders intended.”

Photo credit: K.K. Murray via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 3.0)