Iowa State Facing Lawsuit For Banning Sidewalk Chalk
A civil lawsuit against Iowa State University claims students' free speech and civil rights were violated. It appears to stem from the distribution of political messages and sidewalk chalk.
Speech First is a nonprofit group that independently represents college students in these types of lawsuits around the country. In this case, they say that Iowa State was wrong in November 2019 to enact policies allowing only registered student organizations to write on campus sidewalks.
The lawsuit concentrates on three areas of free speech restriction:
- Ban on using chalk to write messages on sidewalks
- Prohibiting students to communicate about campaigns or ballot issues via campus email
- The use of a Campus Climate Reporting System to identify incidents of bias on campus
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, claims that all three policies violate students' first amendment rights and have a "chilling effect" on free speech on campus. Iowa State officials are not commenting on the lawsuit until they have had a chance to review it.