Tech officials hit with free-speech lawsuit

June 13, 2003

By Sebastian Kitchen at Lubbock Online

A Texas Tech law student filed a federal lawsuit against university officials Thursday, claiming they violated his and other students' First Amend ment right to free speech.

The suit states that the university's policies inhibit free speech and the ability to speak out and distribute literature.

The lawsuit comes after Tech officials already have begun addressing freespeech issues and after unsuccessful communication with The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has spurred a nationwide movement about the issue.

FIRE is attempting "to bring down every unconstitutional speech code in the country," said its chief executive officer, Thor Halvorssen.

Tech is the third university FIRE has filed suit against in an attempt to halt what the group believes to be policies that inhibit constitutionally protected free speech, said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE's director of legal and public advocacy.

"It is not burdensome to allow people to protest and demonstrate on a public college campus," he said. "They are turning more than 99 percent of a public campus into a censorship zone."

Tech's current free-speech policy has been changed in the Student Affairs Handbook for the upcoming 2003-04 school year, said General Counsel Pat Campbell. The change will include the wording of the policy and adds four to five more free-speech areas...

Schools: Texas Tech University Cases: Texas Tech University: Speech Code Litigation