Free Speech Press Release

10.20.17

Ohio University’s Proposed Free Speech Policies Are Unconstitutional, Says ACLU

Free Speech

ATHENS, OH—The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to Ohio University urging it to reconsider two proposed policies that would suppress First Amendment activity on campus, both indoors and outdoors. The policies were introduced as a result of heightened student activism over the last twelve months.

“These policies create a flat ban on any kind of group expression in all campus indoor spaces, including sit-ins, rallies, and speeches,” said Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “Ohio University should be celebrating the tradition of student activism, not curtailing it.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has long upheld the principle that buildings and grounds of colleges and universities, as open marketplaces of ideas, deserve the First Amendment’s highest protection. “Of course colleges and universities may enact reasonable restrictions on when and where students may gather. But this total ban is unjustified and would chill student, staff, and faculty expression,” added Bonham.

The ACLU of Ohio strongly recommends that Ohio University reject the two proposed policies that would prohibit free speech and expression.

Read the full letter.

###