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College To Allow Screening Of Controversial Movie

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- A Fort Pierce community college will show the movie "The Passion of the Christ."

Indian River Community College officials said they would lift the college's ban on campus groups showing R-rated movies. They had been threatened with a civil liberties lawsuit when they refused to show the film on campus.

The change reverses a decision last fall that banned the Christian Student Fellowship club from showing the Mel Gibson movie.

The students who wanted to show the movie said they thought the ban was discriminatory against Christians, and that it stepped on their rights to free speech.

"As officials of this college, it's our job to try to strike that balance, and I think the key word here is 'balance,'" said Vice Principal of Student Affairs Johnny Moore. "We have to set appropriate standards for our college, and at the same time, protect the rights of our students."

School officials admit the college's R-rated movie ban wasn't written in any of its policies. But they insist it's a long-standing practice to protect dual-enrollment students who are still in high school.

A 12-member committee will review all student groups' requests to determine whether the R-rated movies are appropriate.

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