Student Groups at Ohio University Call for Policy Detour

Photo taken directly from the Y(OU) Can't Silence Dissent Facebook page

(Photo taken directly from the Y(OU) Can't Silence Dissent Facebook page)

ATHENS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Proposed policy changes governing freedom of expression are firing up some student groups at Ohio University.

Administrators at the Athens campus are considering adjusting policy to ban protests, sit-ins and rallies at a number of indoor venues.

The ACLU has sent a letter to Ohio University's legal counsel urging attorneys to do an about face on the possible ban.

As of 5:30 Friday afternoon, 233 people indicated interest in a Facebook page dedicated to a rally planned on the steps of the Athens County Courthouse. 138 people indicated they planned to attend.

The Post reports the policy could also impact about two dozen outdoor spaces.

Update: 6:59pm Friday, October 20

Carly Leatherwood, Ohio University's Senior Director of Communications Services, promptly provided us with supplemental information on this story.

President Dr. Duane Nellis has published an open letter to the university community. It says, in part, October 20 "is the last opportunity to submit comments" on the "interim University policies on Freedom of Expression and Use of Outdoor Space". Dr. Nellis adds, "[t]he University has requested input from every member of the University community." Nellis says they "greatly appreciate the thoughtful feedback we have received to this point".

Dr. Nellis says after the review period has closed, University leadership "will form an advisory group with representation from constituencies across campus, including students, faculty and staff, to review the comments and make recommendations regarding the final policy. Nellis says feedback is accepted through 11:59p.m. on October 20.

In addition, the university provided us with another item related to the letter the ACLU sent to Ohio University's legal counsel. It reads in part, "[w]hile we disagree with some of the conclusions asserted by the ACLU of Ohio, we do agree on the fundamental importance of free expression on all Ohio University campuses."

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