Law group defends pro-life students restricted to college 'speech zone'

University of South Alabama. Credit: Faungg's Photo via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

A student group at the University of South Alabama is challenging the university administration after being told its pro-life display must be limited to the school’s small “speech zone.”

The non-profit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom filed an amended complaint on behalf of the students in their lawsuit against the university on Aug. 23.

“Free, spontaneous discourse on college campuses is supposed to be a hallmark of higher education rather than the exception to the rule,” said ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope that the University of South Alabama will revise its policy so that its students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

Following university guidelines, Students for Life USA requested permission last October to host a “Cemetery of the Innocents” which would have consisted of planting small crosses in the ground to honor the victims of abortion.

The school denied their request, saying that the event was controversial and that it would could only be held in the campus “speech zone” which then consisted of the student center, making up less than 1 percent of the campus.

The university has allowed other student groups to exercise their freedom of speech on other parts of campus, ADF noted.

In its complaint, the legal group argues that the school’s “speech zone” policy violates students’ right to freedom of speech and gives university officials, “unbridled discretionary power to limit student speech in advance of such expression on campus and to do so based on the content and viewpoint of the speech.”

In August, the school expanded its “speech zone” to include other parts of campus, but Alliance Defending Freedom says that the school continues to restrict students’ constitutional rights.

Large, park-like parts of campus that ADF says were designed and previously used by students for practicing free speech are still off-limits.
 


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Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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