Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center, an advocacy organization for students’ First Amendment rights, told The O’Collegian that Oklahoma State’s speech policies might not pass First Amendment muster.
“It’s definitely not permissible under the First Amendment to ban all distribution of literature on campus without applying for permission and filing a copy of the literature with the university,” LoMonte said. “If Cowboys for Life was not behaving any differently from other groups — if they were not obstructing traffic or physically accosting pedestrians or otherwise causing a disturbance — then they have a right to deliver their message without government interference.”
LoMonte hastened to add that the lawsuit by Cowboys for Life presents only one side of the story.
As for the other side of the story, Andy Lester, who chairs Oklahoma State’s Board of Regents, said he preferred not to answer The O’Collegian’s questions because he had not seen the lawsuit. Comment was apparently left to Gary Shutt, the school’s communications director.
“As stated in OSU policy, the freedom of expression and assembly are the hallmark of an academic community,” Shutt said. “OSU offers students and others fair and equal opportunity and discussion.”