Oregon State University Student Alliance v. Ray
What's at stake
- Independent, conservative, or religious student newspapers’ right to distribute their papers on college campuses
The Liberty’s distribution bins were located throughout the campus of Oregon State University for several years after receiving permission from university officials to put them on campus. In the Winter 2009 term, however, the students discovered that all of their distribution bins, along with the current issue of their paper, had disappeared. After the campus police investigated, they determined that the university had taken all of the bins. When the student editor requested the bins back, he was taken to a storage yard, where all of The Liberty’s distribution bins lay in a heap next to a dumpster. University officials claimed that they removed the bins in an effort to de-clutter the campus, but only The Liberty’s bins were targeted. The left-leaning daily student newspaper’s distribution bins were left untouched, despite the fact that there were three times as many of them on campus. After the students complained, the university continued to refuse them access to the majority of campus like the other student newspaper, prompting them to seek legal help.
The Liberty would still be barred from much of the campus were it not for Alliance Defending Freedom, which negotiated a change to the university’s policy after a lawsuit was filed. But a lower court threw the case out of court, claiming that the students’ rights were not violated. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys appealed this decision and obtained a favorable ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that overruled the lower court decision and reinstated their case.
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom represented OSU Student Alliance and continues to fight for the right of independent, conservative, and religious student publications to distribute their papers on public university campuses on an equal basis with student publications that may be more favored by the university administration.