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University of Maryland expands free-speech policy

By The Associated Press
08.01.03

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland has altered its rules on public speakers and leafleting on the College Park campus after being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for allegedly curbing free speech.

In a motion filed July 29 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, attorneys for the university said Maryland and the ACLU reached an agreement in April that expands the places on campus where students can demonstrate and hand out fliers.

Under the new policy, students, staff and faculty will be able to leaflet at any outdoor spot on campus. Demonstrations of 10 or fewer members of the university community can also be held anywhere without advance registration.

The university's previous policy limited those activities to "free-speech zones" around campus. That rule limited leafleting to two spots and demonstrations to 10 areas of campus.

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of a Maryland student, saying those rules limited free speech.

Still unresolved is whether outsiders who are not part of the university enjoy the same rights. The new policy excludes anyone from off-campus.

The university's motion seeks to dismiss the lawsuit since Maryland and the ACLU agree the new policy is constitutional for students. An ACLU attorney could not be reached for comment.


Update
4th Circuit upholds University of Maryland speech policy
Three-judge panel rules administrators have right to restrict leafleting, assemblies by people who are not part of university to free-speech zones. 09.13.05

Previous
University of Maryland sued over free-speech zones
ACLU says campus policy limiting speakers, leafleting to two locations infringes on students' free expression. 03.07.03

Related

Civil liberties groups seek to topple Texas Tech's free-speech policy

Law student sues over university's limits on protest locations, also challenges school's speech code. 06.13.03

Lessons learned: setting speech free on campus
By Ken Paulson Western Illinois University does the right thing in abolishing its 'free-speech zone' policy limiting student speech. 05.18.03

Free-speech zones

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