November 1, 2012 Print

Pro-Life Student Sues Louisiana State University

by Bethany Monk

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a student prohibited from distributing pro-life literature beyond a 1,000 square-foot area on the Louisiana State University’s 650-acre campus.

In October, a student who wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity by handing out pro-life materials was told by LSU officials  that she could do so only in the school’s “Free Speech Alley — the one  place on campus where students and organizations are permitted to distribute printed materials.

ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said colleges and universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas.

“By limiting the distribution of material and free speech to less than 1 percent of the campus, Louisiana State University is violating the constitutionally protected freedoms of students who should be free to express themselves on the sidewalks and open spaces at the university,” he explained.

In addition, students must register with the Office of Campus Life to ensure that others have not reserved the limited spaces in the Free Speech Alley. The suit, Candler v. Jenkins, explains that the school’s policy violates the U.S. Constitution by improperly restraining student speech. 

“The university is supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” Sharp said. “Louisiana State University’s policy of limiting free speech to ‘Free Speech Alley’ is a contradiction in terms. The university should promptly revise its policy so that students can enjoy their constitutionally protected freedoms as America’s founders intended.”

Read the complaint in Candler v. Jenkins.