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Bring Back Campus Free Speech

In violation of the Campus Free Speech Act there are only certain areas set aside on the campus where students are told that they can engage in free speech activities.

-Brent Woodall

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is being sued on behalf of students by the Alliance Defending Freedom for outdated policies regarding the freedom to speak and right to protest. According to the current campus policy, students are permitted to protest. However, they must achieve a clearance at lease 72 hours in advance and university approval prior to doing so.

The Campus Free Speech Act was signed into law by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivery in 2019. The act requires public universities to develop policies guarding our right to speak freely. Attorneys for the ADF argue that the school’s current policy limits free speech and the opportunity for debate.

According to the Campus Free Speech Act, “students, administrators, faculty and staff are free to take positions on public controversies and to engage in protected, expressive, activity in areas of the campus, and to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble, speak, and distribute literature.” Joshua Greer, the student who filed the lawsuit, argues that the university’s policy violates the CFSA (2019) because it prevents students from speaking about political and cultural topics in a timely fashion.

Officials from UAH have not commented on the subject because of policies preventing them from discussing pending litigation. In a statement made public, they said: “Our policies were implemented to preserve this important constitutional right.” While the university understands the importance of properly supporting our Constitutional rights in a statement, their policies simply do not reflect a commitment to the principles of free speech.

It’s not only conservative speech that’s impacted by this policy; I know I'm often accused of only supporting Conservative speech. According to the policy, Black Lives Matter protesters would have had to wait at least three days to protest George Floyd’s murder. Freedom of speech is for everybody; it’s not a partisan issue. It doesn’t matter who you are or what beliefs you hold. As long as your exercising constitutionally protected speech, no public official has the right to sanction you.

Protests are necessary in a society with a government as large as ours. I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but our government largely controls the media. Controlling the information gives you an advantage in controlling the narrative. We the people need to exercise our free will. We need to stand up before it’s too late. We don’t have three days to take action. When we have something to say, we have a right to say it. Not everybody is going to like what you have to say or support your beliefs, but disagreements shouldn’t be a compelling argument enough to limit free speech on campus.



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