- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 27, 2016

After being criticized by a free speech watchdog group, a public university in Louisiana has revised its speech policy to bolster open discourse on campus.

As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Educated reported on Wednesday, Northwestern State University’s previous policy required students to apply 24-48 hours in advance before holding a public demonstration. Assemblies were limited to “one, 2-hour time period every 7 days commencing on Monday” and three predetermined locations on campus.

In response to FIRE’s criticism, Northwestern State promptly revised its speech policy to bolster open discourse on campus. The two-hour time limit was scrapped entirely, while the location and pre-notice restrictions are only on a “preferred” basis.

For his part, University President Jim Henderson also said that the old policy FIRE slammed in their August 24 post as the “Speech Code of the Month” had not been enforced for nearly two years, and the new policy “reflects our current and historic practice.”

In response to the policy change, FIRE has upgraded Northwestern State’s free-speech rating on Friday from “red light,” its poorest grade, to “yellow light.”

“Given that President Henderson conveyed the university’s strong commitment to free speech, we hope NSULA will continue moving in this positive direction and become Louisiana’s first green light school,” Alex Morey wrote in a FIRE blog post.

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