Education

Lawsuit dropped after NC State adjusts speech permit policy

Posted July 19

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— North Carolina State University has dropped its requirement that student groups obtain permits to speak or distribute written material on campus, prompting a Christian group that challenged the policy to drop its lawsuit against the school.

Grace Christian Life, a non-denominational church that meets on campus, sued the university in April saying the permit policy violates the group's free-speech rights. U.S. District Judge James Dever issued a preliminary injunction against N.C. State last month to stop enforcement of the policy until the lawsuit was resolved.

University officials said the policy dates to 1993 and was implemented to help ensure student safety. Yet, in a June 2 court hearing, lawyers for the university couldn't provide an example of a safety issue when questioned by Dever.

"Students of any religious, political or ideological persuasion should be able to freely and peacefully speak with their fellow students about their views without interference from university officials who may prefer one view over another," Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Grace Christian in the lawsuit, said in a statement. "N.C. State did the right thing in revising its policy to reflect this instead of continuing to defend its previous policy, which was not constitutionally defensible."

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