Alabama Supreme Court hears case against university free speech policy

The Alabama Supreme Court heard a case against the University of Alabama at Huntsville challenging a 2020 free speech policy.

The case was brought by the Young Americans for Liberty chapter.

The Alabama Supreme Court heard Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) at University of Alabama at Huntsville’s (UAH) free speech case against the university on Sept. 15.

The case was brought before the court in response to a 2020 policy that restricted speech to a designated area on campus. It was revised in 2021.

Restrictions included requiring students to submit a request to use outdoor spaces no less than three business days prior to an event, and designating appropriate forms of protests.

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Joshua Greer, a member of YAL at UAH, filed the lawsuit in conjunction with the chapter in 2021. The plaintiffs are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“Alabama state law guarantees that all students at public universities can freely speak outdoors on campus grounds,” ADFL Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffman stated in a Sept. 15 press release.

“University campuses should be encouraging free speech, not stifling it with burdensome and illegal rules like limiting speech to certain zones and requiring students to get a permit from college administrators before sharing their views.”

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ADF filed the case with the high court after it was tossed by a circuit court in February. The lower court ruled that the university’s policy abided by time, place, and manner restrictions.

“The University’s Policy does not prevent Plaintiffs’ expression; it merely regulates, in a viewpoint- and content-neutral manner, when and where Plaintiffs may speak on the University’s property,” the lower court ruled. “Such time, place, and manner restrictions are permissible under Alabama’s Constitution.”

Campus Reform contacted UAH YAF, UAH, and ADF for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.