University of Maryland: State Senators Pressure University to Cancel Controversial Film Screening

Category: Cases
Schools: University of Maryland – College Park

Under intense pressure from the Maryland Senate, the University of Maryland cancelled a student-run campus event that would have included an educational event by Planned Parenthood and then a screening of the self-described “XXX”-rated film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. Cancelling the event was a clear violation of the First Amendment and the students’ right to freedom of expression and, furthermore, a public school administrator is not allowed to engage in prior review. However, the school caved after Maryland Senator Andrew P. Harris introduced an amendment to the school budget bill banning providing general funds for screenings of XXX-rated adult films. As a result of the uproar surrounding the cancellation, students screened parts of the film on the scheduled day of the event anyway, without university approval.