Boise State revises free speech policies to drop pro-life lawsuit
Boise State University (BSU) has decided to revise its campus protest policies in order to end a lawsuit brought against it almost a year ago by a pro-life group.
Last July, BSU allegedly required Abolitionists4Life, a pro-life student organization, to post warning signs about graphic pictures shown during their “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” event, which was held in a designated free-speech zone.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal organization, represented Abolitionists4Life in the lawsuit.
As reported by Reuters, Abolitionists4Life claimed they were unfairly targeted and were restricted in where they could distribute flyers about their event. According to BSU, warning signs are necessary for events promoting controversial topics, and the group’s anti-abortion flyers could only be distributed within one of the eight free-speech zones.
According to ADF, however, when other student organizations hosted similarly controversial events, such as a Planned Parenthood rally where condoms were distributed, the university did not require any warning signs to be posted. Similarly, ADF claims that the Secular Student Alliance was also allowed to distribute “Does God exist?” pamphlets outside of the free-speech zones for one of their events.
“The pro-abortion student groups on campus had put on events promoting their point of view, and they were never asked to put up warning signs,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, in a previous e-mailed statement to Campus Reform. “In light of that, the university requiring us to put a sign on our display seemed to be a pretty obvious censorship attempt at our group.”
BSU will no longer require warning signs, according to BSU spokesman Greg Hahn. In return, ADF and Abolitionists4Life have dropped the lawsuit.
Hahn also said that, while the school did not admit to restricting where literature could be given out, it would make sure that employees will be made aware that groups and individuals may hand out literature outdoors.
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