Troy University: Speech Code Litigation

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Troy University

FIRE targeted the fifth university in its highly successful Speech Code Litigation project. FIRE’s continued effort to systematically demolish unconstitutional campus speech restrictions has already tasted victory at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, Texas Tech University, the State University of New York at Brockport, and California’s Citrus College. Despite its obligation as a public university to uphold the First Amendment, and its explicit assurance to students that it will respect the rights of students to “[f]ree inquiry, expression, and assembly,” Troy’s speech code is extraordinarily overbroad and vague. Troy’s handbook states, for instance, that a student can face punishment up to and including expulsion for “indecent… expression”; “[a]ny activity that creates a mentally abusive, oppressive, or harmful situation for another;” and for “[u]se of the mail, telephone, computer and electronic messages, or any other means of communication to insult…or demean another.” The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, also charges Troy with breach of contract, unlawful conditions placed on the receipt of state benefits, and denial of due process and of equal protection of the law.