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Victory for Free Speech: Third Circuit Strikes Down University of Virgin Islands’ Speech Codes – FIRE

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Victory for Free Speech: Third Circuit Strikes Down University of Virgin Islands’ Speech Codes – FIRE

Can you be punished for saying something that made others uncomfortable? Stephen McCauley was, after speaking with a college rape survivor. But this week, the Third Circuit court of appeals struck "down unconstitutional speech policies maintained by the University of the Virgin Islands…on First Amendment grounds."

The case, brought against the University's "regulations prohibiting 'offensive' or 'unauthorized' signs and conduct causing 'emotional distress'" and provisions in the University's Code of conduct prohibiting "any act which…tends to injure or actually injures, frightens, demeans, degrades or disgraces any person" was ruled overbroad, affirming prior legal precedent distinguishing college students from lower education students as having greater First Amendment protections than their counterparts. "[L]et me be clear," Robert Shibley explained. "Maintaining speech codes [in public institutions] violates the law."

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