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Freedom of speech lawsuit filed against UAH

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:57 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The University of Alabama in Huntsville is being sued.

A group of students said university officials broke the law and are prohibiting their freedom of free speech. Lawyers for both sides were in the Madison County Courthouse Tuesday, November 9th.

Lawyers representing the students, claim in order to speak out, hold a rally, any other type of expressive activity, they have to be in certain areas of campus, and they have to make a request at least 72 hours in advance.

”The Campus Free Speech Act says students are able to speak in any of the outdoor areas of campus. Any commonly accessible area of campus, they’re allowed to speak, but what the university has done, has said, you have to get permission to speak in any of these areas and if you speak on newsworthy events, that you are in one of these speech zones. They cant do either of those things,” said attorney Michael Ross.

Ross claims on campus there are about 20 designated areas or zones where students have to be in, when trying to use their First Amendment right, freedom of speech for an expressive activity.

“Furthermore, what’s worse, is they put these speech zones in the far corners of campus. They put them by lakes, by roads, by the far sides of parking lots, not areas where students walk,” said Ross.

Attorneys argue these students should be able to hold events and be vocal, anywhere on campus.

But they say the burdens to exercise their first amendment rights don’t stop here.

“Even if you are an individual person wanting to go out and talk to someone else about any sort of expressive activity or take a survey for class, you have to get a permit three business days in advance. That’s incredibly burdensome and just stifles the exchange of ideas on campus,” said Ross.

WAFF talked with attorneys for the university of UAH and they said as of now, they have no comment.

Attorneys are expecting the judge, in this case, to make a decision soon.

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