SLF advises Georgia College to revise unconstitutional speech code
MILLEDGEVILLE, GA (October 8, 2020): Today Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to Georgia College on behalf of students who are concerned about the College's speech policies. Several of these policies unconstitutionally infringe on students' First Amendment rights, and they violate both state and federal law.
For example, the College only has one speech zone located in the corner of campus. The College also effectively bans students from gathering to engage in spontaneous expression. And if a planned event is considered "controversial" or involves "inappropriate stereotypes," the College will subject these events to "further review" before they can move forward.
In its letter, SLF reminded Georgia College that a college campus is meant to be a marketplace where students are exposed to all sorts of ideas. "Students live, work, and are formed into tomorrow’s leaders on school grounds. They must have access to ideas through open expression and, by extension, spaces for that expression." The letter also warned the College that it must apply its rules equally--requiring "controversial" events to undergo further review violates the First Amendment because it allows administrators to make subjective judgments about what is or is not controversial.
SLF General Counsel Kim Hermann added that SLF offered further guidance to the College as it revises its policies. "SLF's lawyers are experts when it comes to the First Amendment," Hermann said. "As part of our 1A Project, we have testified several times before the Georgia legislature about college students' First Amendment rights. Our goal is to educate the public about what the First Amendment stands for, so we are always willing to meet with college administrators as they assess their school policies."