Southern Illinois University officials restricted student expression on the university’s Edwardsville campus to a 905-square-foot zone encircling “the Rock” in Stratton Quadrangle, which made up less than .0013% of campus. In addition, all student organizations had to obtain permission in advance to use the speech zone, and university policies left approval of who can use the zone and what types of literature can be distributed on campus up to the free discretion of campus officials. Administrators could deny permits for speech deemed controversial or grant approval only if students agreed to pay burdensome security fees.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the College Republicans filed a federal lawsuit against SIU-Edwardsville officials challenging the constitutionality of these university policies.
Under a settlement agreement, SIU-Edwardsville has agreed to make several changes. First, it has eliminated the permit requirement requiring students to obtain advance approval from administrators in order to speak publicly on campus. Second, the university has agreed that all outdoor areas of the campus that are generally open to the public, not just the designated speech zone, will be available to students to speak with one another publicly without a permit. Additionally, the college agreed to pay the students’ damages and attorneys’ fees.
Institution: Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Location: Edwardsville, IL
Topic: Speech Zone