A federal court on Saturday halted a policy at North Carolina State University requiring students to obtain permits before engaging in speech on campus.
The court order came two days after a request for an injunction was filed by attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom and other allied groups.
“Because the only permit required for free speech on a public university campus is the First Amendment, we welcome the court’s decision to put a stop to NC State’s policy,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer in a press release.
The case concerns university policy 07.25.12, which says anyone “wishing to conduct any form of solicitation on University premises must have the written permission of the Student Involvement [Office] in advance.”
N.C. State cited the policy when telling members of Grace Christian Life, a religious group on campus, that they needed a permit in order to set up a table and speak with other students at the campus student union.
Members of the group obtained the permit and were told at the time they could speak with other students anywhere in the room. But when they showed up on the allotted date, a official with the Student Involvement Office told them they could only speak from behind their table.
Members of Grace Christian Life said they documented several cases in which other groups freely spoke with other students and handed out literature without first obtaining permits — sometimes in full view of the same administrators who curtailed the Christian group’s speech.
Attorneys representing the Christian group said the university’s policy clearly violates the First Amendment.
“Students of any political, religious, or ideological persuasion should be able to freely and peacefully speak with their fellow students about their views without interference from government officials who may prefer one view over another,” Mr. Langhofer said.