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Pennsylvania State University

Fluehr v. Pennsylvania State University


Summary

Pennsylvania State University enforced a speech code that prohibited students from engaging in speech, acts, attitudes, feelings, or beliefs that may harass another individual or group or may be seen as intolerant. Penn State’s policy even stated that “acts of intolerance will not be tolerated.” Penn State also limited student expression to a few small areas on campus through a speech zone policy and prohibited student organizations from receiving student activity fee funding if they engaged in religious advocacy or worship. A.J. Fluehr, a Penn State student, feared to speak in light of the threat of punishment under these policies. On February 22, 2006, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Fluehr.


Decision

WIN. After filing the lawsuit, Mr. Fluehr and Penn State settled the case on August 1, 2006 by agreeing to specific changes to the policies.

Implications of Decision

Mr. Fluehr’s success in changing the several unconstitutional policies at Penn State made all students more free to engage in expression without having to fear punishment.

Case Documents

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Related Media


Student files suit against PSU

The Unending Hypocrisy of Campus Censorship

The Problem With Speech Codes: Even Faculty Members Can Read


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