WHO: ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden
WHAT: Available for media interviews after hearing in Rock for Life v. Hrabowski
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 8, immediately following hearing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, 101 W. Lombard St., Baltimore
BALTIMORE — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden will be available for media interviews following his arguments in federal court Friday in Rock for Life v. Hrabowski. Attorneys with the ADF Center for Academic Freedom represent Rock for Life, a student pro-life group that claims officials at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County invoked “speech code” and “speech zone” policies to deny it the same access to highly visited areas of campus that other student groups enjoy because they found Rock for Life’s message offensive.
“Pro-life student groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs. That’s what the First Amendment is all about,” said Aden. “The university set up a system that allowed its officials to restrict speech with which they disagreed, and enforced this system to deny Rock for Life’s students an audience for their views. We hope this lawsuit will restore a true ‘marketplace of ideas’ on campus so that all groups, including pro-life groups, can exercise their First Amendment rights.”
At Friday’s hearing, ADF attorneys will argue in favor of a preliminary injunction that would prevent the school from discriminating against the student group while the lawsuit moves forward in court.
On April 17, 2007, Alexander Vernet, a student at the university, reserved space for the school’s Rock for Life club to put up a pro-life display called the “Genocide Awareness Project.” At first, the university allowed the student group to sign up for an area in front of the University Center, where the maximum number of people could view the display. The University’s Office of Student Life reneged on that decision and moved the display twice more.
Rock for Life’s display was first moved to a patio area of the Commons building, where fewer students would pass by. Then, when the group began to set up the display on the day of the event, a university official, backed by campus police, ordered the students to move the display to a large vacant field behind the Commons, an isolated area with little student traffic. ADF attorneys filed suit on behalf of the student pro-life group on April 2.
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom defends religious freedom at America’s public universities. ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.