A non-profit speech and religious rights organization has sued a major university after the school repeatedly failed to change an unconstitutional speech policy.
Current policy at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst only allows students free speech between noon and 1:00 p.m. in a small space near the Student Union building. Violation of the Code of Student Conduct may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the university.
Casey Mattox of Alliance Defending Freedom says his legal group filed a lawsuit last week after the school repeatedly refused to change its unconstitutional policy.
"Many groups, including ADF, have asked the school to change this policy – and they have not done so," the attorney explains. "When schools refuse to change these kinds of policies, that's exactly what the federal courts are for – and that's why we're here, to be able to represent students and make sure that the First Amendment is protected."
According to ADF, the designated area for all "speeches and rallies" comprises less than one percent of the campus.
Mattox maintains it is essential for the sake of the nation's future to hold colleges and universities accountable when they violate the Constitution.
"Today's college students are going to be tomorrow's judges and legislators and voters," he points out, "and it's critically important that these students understand that the First Amendment protects them; and that the government needs to be following the First Amendment, not violating the rights of the students."
Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit on behalf of Nicholas Consolini, a student at UMass and a member of Young Americans for Liberty.