The University of Maine requires all student organizations and individuals to contact the university police before hosting any event using outdoor space, such as a protest or even using a small recruitment table.
The free speech nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education highlighted the policy as “speech code of the month,” arguing its potential to chill speech.
“The entire campus of the University of Maine (except corridors and inside areas and facilities not available on a scheduled basis for reasons of public safety) is open to any form of expression by students, faculty, staff, and their invited guests,” the handbook states, before noting that “individuals and groups wishing to use outdoor areas and facilities shall notify the Chief of the University of Maine Police or their designee at least three days in advance of the nature, the time, and the place of the proposed activity.”
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FIRE noted that since the University of Maine has adopted the Chicago Statement on free speech, the university should revise the policy requiring individuals and student groups to notify the police department before using outdoor spaces.
Azhar Majeed, vice president of policy reform at FIRE, told Campus Reform that the policy stifles student’s rights.
“I think it's a pretty basic violation when you see that the policy requires students to provide at least three days of notice, for any use of outdoor areas and facilities, you know, there's seemingly no exception for this, no matter how small your expressive activity is, or how peaceful or how unlikely it is to disrupt campus functions,” Majeed said. “I can't imagine how a student wouldn't feel that their rights are being stifled under this policy.”
Majeed noted to Campus Reform that it is very rare to see a university policy that lists the police department as the first point of contact for planning these kinds of events.
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The FIRE vice president said that it is okay for the university to have certain requirements for large-scale events, but states that this policy goes over the top.
“I would call this a one size fits all model where the way the school is seemingly treating any adult expressive activ
Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13312