YAL takes on university's 'hostility'

Monday, January 20, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

'Freedom of Speech' sign held upA federal lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey against Montclair State University.

Last September, Mena Botros and two other students who are members of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) reportedly went out to peacefully express their ideas in a common, outdoor area on campus.

But attorney Michael Ross of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing YAL, tells OneNewsNow they were stopped from doing so.

"This school campus security officer came up and told them that 'you need to get permission at least two weeks in advance to come speak on campus, and then the school will assign you a place and time to do your speech,'" Ross relays.

Ross

But he asserts that school officials cannot deny a student's request to speak or even require them a request to speak.

"The only permission slip that students need to speak on college campuses is the First Amendment," states Ross.

This is not the first time the pro-liberty youth organization has sued a university. 

"Young Americans for Liberty has sued a number of other universities that have similar speech regulations, speech codes, [and] speech zones," Ross reports. "We've had issues where the organization is being treated unfavorably because of the viewpoints it's expressing."

As of now, it is unknown when ADF and Montclair State University will be in court at the U.S. District of New Jersey.

"The university is going to have about four weeks to respond," says Ross. "Obviously, we hope that they'll respond before then and do the right thing, but as far as when we'll be inside of a courtroom, that could be a couple months or more."

OneNewsNow asked for and received the following comment from Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole: 

The University has not been served by the referenced complaint. 

Cole

Montclair State University is absolutely and unequivocally committed to freedom of speech. Our policy and procedures concerning demonstrations and assemblies are based on a balance between two principles. The first principle is the right of members of the university community to freedom of assembly and speech and the benefits to be derived in a free society and in a free and open university from fostering discourse and permitting the exchange of ideas. Consistent with that principle, no member of the university community is subject to any limitation or penalty for demonstrating or assembling with others for the expression of his/her viewpoint.

The second principle is the right of all members of the university community to be able to engage without disruption in all university organized activities, including but not limited to educational, scholarly, research, business, cultural, informational, recreational, or public outreach activities.

The university has adopted appropriate procedures to assure that it functions in accordance with those principles, and we have no reason to think that we have taken any action in violation of our principles or policies.

This, says Ross, is not a case people should overlook or ignore.

"We're seeing increasing hostility towards libertarian, conservative, and religious viewpoints on campuses all across the country," he tells OneNewsNow.

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