Susquehanna University: Political Campaign Signs Banned in Dormitory Windows Ahead of 2020 Election


Susquehanna University

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Case Overview


On October 28, 2020, days before the November 2020 election, Susquehanna University — a private institution in Pennsylvania that promises its students freedom of expression — required students to remove political campaign signs from their dormitory windows. In an open letter, the Susquehanna chapters of the College Democrats, College Republicans, and the Young Americans for Liberty said they had been told to remove signs due to “safety concerns.” In response, Susquehanna’s administration cited its obligations as a tax-exempt institution, arguing that signs could be “confusing to the public and can imply that the university is endorsing a candidate or political party.” On October 30, 2020, FIRE wrote to Susquehanna University explaining that its tax-exempt status does not require it to censor student political expression. Susquehanna refused to rescind the policy.