WVU Free Speech Policy Called Better But Not Perfect

April 15, 2002

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A civil rights group says West Virginia University’s new free speech policy is an improvement but still far from ideal.

The interim policy expands an earlier one that gave students just two small areas on campus in which to gather for protests and demonstrations.

Students now have seven “free expression areas” but they must make reservations at least 24 hours in advance for activities scheduled outside normal business hours “and/or that are anticipated to attract over 50 attendants,” the policy says.

The policy “substantially improves the environment for discourse at WVU,” said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, in a letter to WVU President David Hardesty.

“Although the proposed policy is a step in the right direction, it is far from ideal, and it even contains several provisions of questionable constitutionality,” Lukianoff wrote.

One troubling provision lets the administration charge groups for the cost of providing security at their events, Lukianoff said.

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