What does it say when a University feels the need to have a “free speech zone.” Well, the obvious point is that speech is not free outside the zone.
As reported by FIRE, such a zone at the University of Cincinnati was overturned by a federal court in June:
In a ringing victory for student rights, a federal district court declared today that the University of Cincinnati’s (UC’s) tiny “free speech zone” violates the First Amendment. In his order enjoining enforcement of the challenged free speech zone policy, United States District Judge Timothy S. Black held that UC’s free speech zone “violates the First Amendment and cannot stand.” The suit was filed by Ohio’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in cooperation with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)….
Prior to today’s court order, UC had required all “demonstrations, pickets, and rallies” to be held in a “Free Speech Area” that comprises just 0.1% of the university’s 137-acre West Campus. University policy further required that all expressive activity in the free speech zone be registered with the university a full ten working days in advance, threatening that “[a]nyone violating this policy may be charged with trespassing.”
Today’s order prohibits UC from enforcing the policy, finding that “the University has simply offered no explanation of its compelling interest in restricting all demonstrations, rallies, and protests from all but one designated public forum on campus.” The court further notes that it “would be compelled to find the policy unconstitutionally vague on its face.”
Federal Court: University of Cincinnati Free Speech Zone Violates First Amendment & Cannot Stand (FIRE - News)