University of Alabama: Ban on Window Displays

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Alabama

The administration of the University of Alabama (UA) has "indefinitely" tabled a policy outlawing all window displays in student dormitories. This instance of UA’s censorship of student expression began when administrators ordered a student to remove a Confederate flag from his window, citing a draft of a university policy that forbade putting up any displays "in view of the general public" that were "inconsistent with accepted standards or University policies." FIRE wrote UA President Robert E. Witt pointing out that the university’s requirement that window displays meet "accepted standards" was so vague that it would allow administrators to choose what sorts of expression would be allowed based solely on their whims and unfettered discretion. UA responded by banning all window displays, prompting students to protest the ban by flying American flags in their windows, an act that FIRE supported. After protests by FIRE, the ACLU, the League of the South, and the Alabama Association of Scholars, the UA administration indefinitely tabled the proposal.

  • FIRE Coalition Shatters Window Display Censorship Policy at University of Alabama

    October 3, 2003

    TUSCALOOSA, AL—After months of experimenting with different methods of restricting speech, the administration of the University of Alabama (UA) has “indefinitely” tabled a policy outlawing all window displays in student dormitories. The policy was issued after a student was ordered to remove a confederate flag from the door of his dorm room. Other students, aware of the threat to their liberty posed by this regulation, subsequently displayed American flags to challenge administrators to enforce the ban. “We are relieved that the University of Alabama has decided, at least for now, to honor its constitutional obligations. We find it remarkable that […]

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  • FIRE’s Letter to the University of Alabama; July 15, 2003

    July 15, 2003

    July 15, 2003 President Robert E. Witt University of Alabama Box 870100 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0100 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (205-348-8377) Dear President Witt, As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, due process, academic freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and, in this case, freedom of speech and expression at America’s colleges and universities.  Our web page,, […]

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