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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October 25, 2014

  • Saturday, October 25

    World Apostolate of Fatima Conference, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (noon Mass, Bishop Alexander Salazar presiding), Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., L.A. (310) 890-7912.

    Our Lady of the Angels Region Congress, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., St. Mary’s Academy, Inglewood; $. (310) 216-9587.

    “Sing to the Lord!” formation day for music ministers, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Mary Star of the Sea Church, 463 W. Pleasant Valley Rd., Oxnard; $. (805) 469-6293.

     “Ethical Care at the End of Life,” seminar addressing end-of-life issues, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 3175 Telegraph Ave., Ventura. (805) 642-6403.

    Holiday Boutique, to support Little Sisters of the Poor, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Jeanne Jugan Residence, 2100 S. Western Ave., San Pedro. (310) 548-0625.

    St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy Open House, 10 a.m., 7851 E. Gardendale St., Downey. (562) 861-2271.

    Requiem Mass, for children lost to miscarriage and stillbirth, 10 a.m., St. Therese Church, 510 N. El Molino St., Alhambra. (626) 733-2297.

     “Mission Music,” with De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, 2 p.m., Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, 31520 Camino Capistrano,; $. [714] 928-9567.

    St. Philip the Apostle School Fall Festival, 2-10 p.m., 161 S. Hill Ave., Pasadena. (626) 795-9691.

    “Touch & Heal,” Cathedral Chapel  benefit concert, 4:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. concert, Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto HS, 2900 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles; $. (323) 930-5976.

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