James Madison University: Proposed Restriction on Campus Spirit Rock

Category: Free Speech
Schools: James Madison University

Students painted dueling messages on the “Spirit Rock” in August 2020 after protests over the homicide of George Floyd, and some of the messages offended members of the university community. In response, the university announced that it would install security cameras on the rock, and that it was considering removing the rock, among other restrictions. On September 11, 2020, FIRE sent a letter to the university calling for the administration to respect students’ expressive rights, explaining that the First Amendment bars the university from imposing content-based restrictions on the rock, as the rock is a public forum dedicated to student expressive use.