Ohio University is no longer banning political speech in its
dorms in the final weeks leading up to November's presidential
Robert Shibley explains that when Jillyann Burns, a student, was
ordered to remove a political flyer from her dorm room door, she contacted
his organization, The
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
"After a room inspection, they told her that she had to take it
down or else face going to a disciplinary hearing, simply for
having a poster on her door that criticized both President Obama
and Governor Romney," Shibley details.
Burns posted the notice, an invitation for like-minded
Bobcats to come to a meeting of the OU College Libertarians, in
September. University officials say they had a policy, which
Shibley was never able to find, that prohibited display of
political posters until within 14 days of an election.
"You would think they would want to foster debate before
elections, but unfortunately, we see time and time again on
campuses that they're uncomfortable with having students express
their political views," the attorney comments. "And that really
goes against the marketplace of ideas that a university is supposed
After FIRE sent a complaint letter to OU president Roderick
McDavis, Burns quickly received an e-mail from the university
asserting her freedom to post political materials.