Months after Donald Trump was elected president, a University of South Alabama student was ordered by a campus administrator to remove a “Trump/Pence 2016” sign from his dorm room window. The administrator cited the university’s tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, which prohibits the university from endorsing or opposing a political candidate. The student refused, citing the First Amendment. FIRE wrote to the university explaining—for the third time—that 501(c)(3) did not require or permit the university to censor student political speech that no reasonable person would believe to constitute action by the university itself. The university dropped the charges against the student.
April 13, 2017
Nearly 100 days into the Trump presidency, some college administrators are still fearful that their college’s tax-exempt status may be in jeopardy because of students’ political signs. That was the case at the University of South Alabama last week when student David Meredith put a “Trump/Pence 2016” sign in his dormitory window, months after Trump took office. As FIRE detailed in our letter to the university, administrators ultimately charged Meredith for violating orders to remove the sign, notwithstanding his objection that the First Amendment protected its display. The university has, wisely, since dropped the charges. The day after Meredith posted […]» Read More