University of Alabama: Pro-Choice Group Ordered to Get Permit for Non-Disruptive Expression or Face Arrest

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Alabama

On April 10, 2013, members of the Alabama Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (AASRJ) student group distributed fliers in response to a pro-life group’s event on the University of Alabama’s quad. After roughly one hour, UA police approached the students and ordered them to stop, warning them that without a grounds use permit they were subject to arrest for their activity. When AASRJ submitted that permit request in order to continue its counter-protest activities on April 11, the group was informed that the permit would not be approved in time, because the policy recommends requests be submitted “10 working days prior to the event.” FIRE wrote to UA President Judy Bonner on May 22, reminding UA that it may not constitutionally require student groups like AASRJ to obtain permits to engage in fundamental First Amendment activities. UA has failed to respond to FIRE’s letter, leaving student rights at UA in jeopardy.