The Daily Iowan

Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

FILE+-+Protestors+with+signs+listen+to+guest+speakers+during+the+Iowa+March+for+Science+at+the+Pentacrest+Lawn+on+Saturday%2C+April+22.+The+group%27s+goal+is+to+persuade+legislators+to+vote+based+on+scientific-backed+research+as+opposed+to+partisan+policy.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FBen+Smith%29
FILE - Protestors with signs listen to guest speakers during the Iowa March for Science at the Pentacrest Lawn on Saturday, April 22. The group's goal is to persuade legislators to vote based on scientific-backed research as opposed to partisan policy. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

FILE - Protestors with signs listen to guest speakers during the Iowa March for Science at the Pentacrest Lawn on Saturday, April 22. The group's goal is to persuade legislators to vote based on scientific-backed research as opposed to partisan policy. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben S

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben S

FILE - Protestors with signs listen to guest speakers during the Iowa March for Science at the Pentacrest Lawn on Saturday, April 22. The group's goal is to persuade legislators to vote based on scientific-backed research as opposed to partisan policy. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Lucee Laursen’s Oct. 9 column contains factual misstatements and overgeneralizations that obscure her well-intentioned point about free speech. She characterizes the UI’s regulations on the use of outdoor facilities as straight up “unconstitutional” but offers no legal analysis to support this characterization. This is because she misstates the law on the issue.

Traditional public forums, such as parks and sidewalks, enjoy strong First Amendment protection. The government may not prohibit any expression based on the content of the speech in these forums. For instance, the government cannot prohibit speech that criticizes the military. The government can, however, regulate expression in public forums in a “content-neutral” manner based on the time, place, and manner of the restrictions. For instance, the government can prohibit loud demonstrations across the street from a hospital.

RELATED: Free speech holds the day in the IMU

Besides being content-neutral, restrictions on the use of public forums must serve a significant governmental interest and allow ample alternative forums. When it comes to use of outdoor facilities at UI, these significant interests might include restricting expression that imperils public safety, interferes significantly with classes, or damages the grounds.

Laursen alleges no instances of content-based discrimination, and her contention that time, place, and manner restrictions are “unconstitutional” is exactly false. The time, place, and manner test is the legal rule that the Supreme Court set down for restrictions on expression in public forums, so long as those restrictions are also narrowly tailored for an important governmental interest; see, for instance, Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989).

The value of the First Amendment cannot be overstated. However, it does a disservice to argue for free speech while inaccurately stating the law on the issue. If we understand what restrictions are allowed, we can recognize which are not allowed, and we can better protect our freedoms for the future.

— Luke Cole
Second-year UI law student

Comments

comments

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: UISG president on recent online harassment

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: John Norris for Iowa Governor

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: Senator, Representatives in Des Moines support Pat Heiden

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the Editor: Support for Pat Heiden, Zach Wahls

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: Vote Mary Mosiman for state auditor

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: Mid-year budget cuts irresponsible

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: In defense of state auditor candidate Rob Sand

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the Editor: Fund the backfill, corrections to voter turnout column

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the Editor: Remembering U.S. wars, preventing school violence

  • Letter to the editor: UI does not suppress free speech

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: Grassley responds to editorial on gun violence