Lawsuit cites rule of speech on University of Alabama campus
A conservative Christian group has filed a lawsuit against the University of Alabama, challenging rules that require students to be licensed to speak on campus days in advance.
Filed on Friday by the campus section of Alliance Defending Freedom and two student members in state court, the civil lawsuit claims the rule violates a state law that requires public colleges and universities to respect the rights of students to freedom of expression.
A campus rule requires students to seek permission to speak on campus at least five days in advance, according to the complaint. This requirement prevents members from engaging classmates on important topics such as gun control and federalism, a statement from the organization said.
“Universities are meant to be the very places where students are free to explore diverse ideas and engage in meaningful civil debate, but the University of Alabama ends that debate with its heavy-handed policies of speech, ”said Michael Ross, lawyer for the group.
The school did not respond to the trial on Tuesday, court records showed, and university spokeswoman Deidre Stalnaker said officials would not comment on an ongoing trial. Alabama “remains committed to freedom of speech and expression for members of its university community.” she said.
University administrators can use the rule to “choose” which views and events are allowed on campus, said Alliance Defending Freedom, which is based in Arizona and claims to have chapters on 500 US campuses.