The Ohio ACLU has called on Ohio University to reject its interim “Freedom of Expression” policy.

In a Friday news release, the ACLU stated that the policy suppresses free expression both indoors and outdoors on campus and would chill student, faculty and staff expression. 

“These policies create a flat ban on any kind of group expression in all indoor spaces, including sit-ins, rallies and speeches,” ACLU attorney Elizabeth Bonham said in the news release. “Ohio University should be celebrating the tradition of student activism, not suppressing it.”

The interim policy bans “demonstrations, rallies, public speech-making, picketing, sit-ins, marches, protests, and similar assemblies” from inside university buildings outside of reservable spaces. Another interim policy sets limits on use of 26 outdoor spaces on campus.

The policies were approved for interim use Aug. 17. Friday is the last day of the public comment period for the policies.

The policies have drawn criticism from Student Senate and Faculty Senate. Political organizations across the political spectrum have condemned the policy, including OU College Democrats, the OU College Republicans, the Athens branch of the International Socialist Organization and Students for Liberty.

A rally against the interim policies is planned for 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Athens County Courthouse steps. As of Friday afternoon, more than 130 people had RSVPed to the event on Facebook.


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