OSU Students Alliance (OSUSA) is a registered student organization at Oregon State University that publishes The Liberty, an independent student paper. However, University officials targeted OSUSA’s student newspaper for a form of discriminatory treatment not extended to the other campus student newspaper, The Daily Barometer. Though the University permits The Daily Barometer’s numerous distribution bins to be located throughout campus with no apparent restriction, University officials surreptitiously confiscated the few distribution bins belonging to The Liberty, and threw them in a heap in a storage yard near a dumpster. When The Liberty’s staff eventually located their bins with the help of the Oregon State Police, they found one broken, and the rest covered with mud and debris, and full of ruined copies of their paper. After being found out, the University arbitrarily classified The Liberty (an exclusively student-operated, on-campus publication) as an “off-campus publication,” and disallowed it to place distribution bins anywhere on campus except the immediate vicinity of the student union. As a result, The Liberty is unable to reach many of the students on campus. On September 29, 2009, attorneys with the ADF Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit in federal district court against several University officials for violating OSUSA’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of speech, due process of law, and equal protection of law.
The case is currently on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Public universities cannot place viewpoint-based and unreasonable regulations on student publications. All student speech should be accorded the same protection under the Constitution.
Know someone who would like to know more about their religious rights on campus?