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.