Speech Restrictions Relaxed at Virginia Community Colleges

April 15, 2014

(AP) - The Virginia Community College System has relaxed its policy governing student speech and demonstrations on campus.

Spokesman Jeff Kraus says the executive committee of the system's governing board adopted a new policy Tuesday. It takes effect immediately.

The changes were made after a Thomas Nelson Community College student filed a lawsuit claiming his free-speech rights were violated when he was barred from preaching on campus. The lawsuit is still pending. Also, a new law taking effect July 1 limits public colleges' authority to restrict student speech.

Kraus says the new policy essentially eliminates so-called free-speech zones, which confined student expression to designated areas. It also says colleges can require one-day notice to reserve campus facilities for a demonstration. The old policy required four days' notice.

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