Western Illinois University: Police Demand Students Promoting Marijuana Legalization Use Long-Shuttered “Free Speech Area”


Western Illinois University

Search all Cases

Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In March 2019, members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Western Illinois University gathered in an open area of the University Union to advocate for the legalization of marijuana, holding a sign teasing the availability of “free ‘pot’ brownies”—brownies, without marijuana, inside of a pot. The students were stopped by campus police, who said the students were “outside of the free speech zone,” referring to a policy the university said it had ended in 2003. After receiving a letter from FIRE in July, the university said it was cleaning up its website to remove references to the long-defunct policy, but the references remained online when students returned in the fall, prompting a second letter from FIRE. The university ultimately removed the policy in 2020.