Free speech at Louisiana State University has become much freer after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a student restricted to just a small area of campus to distribute pro-life material.
An LSU student wanted to hand out pro-life flyers last October during the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. Matt Sharp, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, says the restrictions imposed on Deanna Candler by the university were blatantly unconstitutional.
“Not only did she have to get approval from school authorities just to hand these out,” he explains, “but she was also limited to ‘Free Speech Alley,’ which is basically just a simple strip of concrete near the student union – thus shutting off hundreds of acres of LSU’s campus.”
When filing the lawsuit [PDF] last year, ADF described the policy restricting free speech to that small area “a contradiction in terms.” Sharp says school officials contacted ADF immediately after the lawsuit was filed, realizing they needed to change the policy.
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“And [they] proceeded to make sure that not only are students allowed to hand out literature without having to get prior approval, but all of the campus is essentially opened up, except for a few select areas like around the library .... So it really is an important victory,” he concludes.
Under the old policy, Sharp says students wanting to exercise their free-speech rights were restricted to an area approximately 1,000 square feet on a 650-acre campus.
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