Ball State University: Policy on Outdoor Expression Used to Censor Professor’s Indoor Expression

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: Ball State University

On February 11, 2013, Ball State University Professor Dom Caristi was instructed by a Ball State official to remove an Italian flag hanging inside his office window. Leisa I. Julian, Associate Vice President for Business and Auxiliary Serves, cited Ball State’s Policy on the Use of University Property for Expressive Activities as the governing policy, despite the fact that the policy explicitly applied only to “temporary structures and signs out-of-doors in a designated area.”  FIRE wrote to Ball State University President Jo Ann M. Gora on April 29, 2013, pointing out that Ball State’s severe misapplication of its policy put First Amendment rights throughout the campus at risk. On May 29, 2013, Ball State agreed to let Caristi return the flag to his window and announced it would reevaluate its policies.