University of Akron: Unconstitutional Permit Requirements Burden Suppress Student Expression

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Akron

On August 30, 2015, law student Anthony Palumbo attempted to sign up new members for a prospective campus organization outside UA’s Student Union. An administrator ordered Palumbo to cease this activity, informing Palumbo that he was required to obtain a permit. UA associate general counsel Scott Campbell confirmed this requirement during a meeting with Palumbo a few days later. FIRE wrote to UA on September 18, informing the university that its permitting restrictions unconstitutionally burdened student expression. FIRE also highlighted inconsistencies in its speech and assembly policies, noting that the broad language of its policies subjected potentially all student expression to the requirement that speakers obtain permits for their expression. UA responded on October 2, informing FIRE that it was working to amend its speech and assembly policies to remove unconstitutional permitting requirements and that it would suspend its existing requirements while reforming its policies.

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