University of Denver: Law School Restricts Protests to ‘Free Speech Zones,’ Chills Event Organizers’ Speech


University of Denver

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Case Overview


On March 7, 2023, the Federalist Society at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law hosted Ilya Shapiro for a speaking engagement, leading to pushback by other students. Denver Law released a statement suggesting it would restrict protesting students to designated campus areas to express themselves. On the day of the event, FIRE wrote Denver Law explaining that because it promises students expressive rights, it cannot limit the open, outdoor campus spaces where students may express themselves. Denver Law responded the next day that it supported counter-programming in three areas of campus “with no protesters ‘corralled’ or ‘forced’ anywhere or at any time.” On March 15, FIRE replied, explaining that its statement did not alleviate our concerns and expressed further concern given new reports that administrators burdened the student organizers with numerous meetings, leading to a chilling effect on student expression.