Colorado university faulted for 'free speech' zone: a patio

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Bob Kellogg (

A university in Colorado has earned the "Speech Code of the Month" for the month of April by the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education.

Colorado Mesa University in western Colorado has designated a concrete patio near the door to the University Center as their "free speech" zone.

Azhar Majeed of F.I.R.E. says it's surprising many schools still have such "free speech" zones because so many "zones" have been overturned by the courts across the United States.


He recalls a similar attempt at Southwestern College, a public community college in California

"They also had a free-speech patio," Majeed says. "It's just amazing that a university thinks it can get away with restricting First Amendment rights in such a small part of campus."

On its website. F.I.R.E. points out that Mesa is attempting to shrink First Amendment demonstrations to a single patio on an 86-acre campus.

The college has approximately 10,000 students.

Majeed says the university's contention that they have the right to enact "time, place, and manner" restrictions is nothing but an abuse of that policy.

"Those are not some sort of magic words that a university can use to insulate it from a First Amendment challenge," he insists.

F.I.R.E. states that Colorado Mesa's free speech zone "violates the university's moral and legal obligations, as a public university, to uphold its students' First Amendment rights."

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