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UMass-Amherst Sued for Limiting Free Speech to 1 Hour Per Day

A rally in front of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Union. A conservative student activism group has filed a federal lawsuit against trustees of UMass-Amherst, attacking its policies on rallies and free speech. PHOTO: MassLive/The Republican

By Jonathan Plante | 10 January 2017

  • Young Americans for Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a lawsuit against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for its “egregious” restrictions on free speech.
  • The school only allows “speeches and rallies” between noon and 1:00 p.m., and restricts them to a single location on campus.

CAMPUS REFORM — A conservative student group is suing the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for limiting “speeches and rallies” to a tiny portion of campus for just one hour per day.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) issued a press release Monday announcing that it had filed the lawsuit with help from attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), saying the school’s policies “create a chilling effect on speech, deterring students from engaging in their First Amendment rights.”

Specifically, the groups are objecting to a provision of the UMass-Amherst land use policy, which stipulates that “outdoor speeches and rallies during class hours may be held only on the -west side (main entrance) of the Student Union Building, and shall be limited to one (1) hour in length, from noon to 1:00 P.M.”

In addition, the lawsuit notes that the university does not define what it means by “speeches and rallies,” leaving administrators with “the discretion to determine when expression becomes a ‘speech’ or ‘rally’ and when it does not.” […]

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