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Supreme Court of the United States

Do you attend these schools? Then your rights are at stake.

October 17, 2017

This year, Alliance Defending Freedom has urged Universities around the country to change their unconstitutional policies. Some schools, like Virginia Tech and University of Alabama, have quickly changed their policies, making their campuses safe for free speech.

Other colleges and universities, however, refused to change, denying rights guaranteed to students by the constitution. These schools are

 

How you can help: If you attend one of these Universities, please contact us at 1.800.835.5233 or online here. We’d love to talk to you about what you or your student group can do to help challenge these policies that limit your freedom.

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The schools all have policies that violate the rights of students protected by the First Amendment.

Among the problematic policies are various speech codes and zones that place unconstitutional restrictions on student speech, policies that force student clubs to accept voting members and officers that don’t agree with the clubs’ beliefs, and policies that allow non-religious student groups to use student activity fees but exclude religious student groups even though the students in those groups have contributed to the fees.

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What policies are unconstitutional at my school? Read below: 


University of Alaska
The University of Alaska has a “speech code,” or policies that suppress and punish speech that some may find subjectively offensive. In one instance, they say that student groups must “avoid the use of obscene or offensive language or illustrations and demonstrate sensitivity to social concerns” in their campus postings. The Supreme Court has said that restrictions on speech cannot be “overbroad” or “vague,” which this policy violates because it likely prohibits much speech that is protected by the First Amendment and leaves terms open for individual interpretation. The constitution protects all speech, even if that speech is considered unpleasant or offensive by some.

Not only does UA have a speech code, but its policies may also prohibit religious groups from selecting their leaders based on their faith.  UA’s policies ban religious discrimination (which many universities are wrongly interpreting to prohibit religious groups from requiring their members and leaders to agree with their religious beliefs) but allow other groups to exclude members based on nonreligious belief (i.e., political or social issue groups), gender (fraternities and sororities), GPA (academic merit groups), and much more. When a school permits groups to make nonreligious membership and leadership exclusions, they violate the constitution if they prohibit religious groups from selecting co-religionists as their members and leaders.  For more information, click below for our letters to the University of Alaska.

Letter_to_University_of_Alaska_Anchorage.pdf Letter_to_University_of_Alaska_Fairbanks.pdf Letter_to_University_of_Alaska_Southeast.pdf

 

Ohio University
Ohio University has a “speech code,” with policies that suppress and punish speech that some may find subjectively offensive. In the Student Code of Conduct, OU prohibits students from acting in any way which “demeans, degrades, [or] disgraces any person.” The Supreme Court has said that restrictions on speech cannot be “overbroad” or “vague,” which this policy violates because it likely prohibits much speech that is protected by the First Amendment and leaves terms open for individual interpretation. The constitution protects all speech, even if that speech is considered unpleasant or offensive by some.

Ohio University’s policies also may prohibit religious groups from selecting their leaders based on their faith.  OU’s policies ban religious discrimination (which many universities are wrongly interpreting to prohibit religious groups from requiring their members and leaders to agree with their religious beliefs) but allow other groups to exclude members based on nonreligious belief (i.e., political or social issue groups), gender (fraternities and sororities), GPA (academic merit groups), and much more. When a school permits groups to make nonreligious membership and leadership exclusions, they violate the constitution if  they prohibit religious groups from selecting co-religionists as their members and leaders.  For more information, click below for our letter to Ohio University

Ohio_Univ_Demand_Letter.pdf

 

SD
According to the Supreme Court, all private student groups must have equal access to Student Fee Funding regardless of their viewpoint. This Board of Regents policy excludes religious groups from receiving funding, which is unconstitutional. For more information, click below to read our letter to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Univ_South_Dakota.pdf

 

University of Hawaii at Hilo
The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s policies may prohibit religious groups from selecting their leaders based on their faith.  The university’s policies ban religious discrimination (which many universities are wrongly interpreting to prohibit religious groups from requiring their members and leaders to agree with their religious beliefs)  but allow other groups to exclude members based on nonreligious belief (i.e., political or social issue groups), gender (fraternities and sororities), GPA  (academic merit groups), and much more. When a school permits groups to make nonreligious membership and leadership exclusions, they violate the constitution if they prohibit religious groups from selecting co-religionists as their members and leaders.  For more information, click below for our letter to the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Letter_to_University_of_Hawaii_at_Hilo.pdf

Alabama State University

Alabama State University has a “speech code,” with policies that suppress and punish speech that some may find subjectively offensive. In one instance, they define harassment as anything that might cause “discomfort.” The Supreme Court has said that restrictions on speech cannot be “overbroad” or “vague,” which this policy violates because it likely prohibits much speech that is protected by the First Amendment and leaves terms open for individual interpretation. The constitution protects all speech, even if that speech is considered unpleasant or offensive by some.

Additionally, ASU’s policies also may prohibit religious groups from selecting their leaders based on their faith.  The university’s policies ban religious discrimination (which many universities are wrongly interpreting to prohibit religious groups from requiring their members and leaders to agree with their religious beliefs), but allow other groups to exclude members based on nonreligious belief (i.e., political or social issue groups), gender (fraternities and sororities), GPA (academic merit groups), and much more. When a school permits groups to make membership and leadership exclusions, they violate the constitution if they prohibit religious groups from selecting co-religionists as their members and leaders.  For more information, click here for our letter to Alabama State University
AL_State_Univ_Demand_Letter.pdf

 

University of Montana
The University of Montana’s policies may prohibit religious groups from selecting their leaders based on their faith.  The university’s policies ban religious discrimination (which many universities are wrongly interpreting to prohibit religious groups from requiring their members and leaders to agree with their religious beliefs), but allow other groups to exclude members based on nonreligious belief (i.e., political or social issue groups), gender (fraternities and sororities), GPA (academic merit groups), and much more. When a school permits groups to make nonreligious membership and leadership exclusions, they violate the constitution if they prohibit religious groups from selecting co-religionists as their members and leaders.  For more information, click below for our letter to the University of Montana.

Letter_to_University_of_Montana.pdf

 

How you can help: If you attend one of these Universities, please contact us at 1.800.835.5233 or online here. We’d love to talk to you about what you or your student group can do to help challenge these policies that limit your freedom.


Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith