Thursday, April 26, 2012

6th Circuit: Evangelist Has Standing; Campus Speaker Rule Unreasonable

McGlone v. Bell, (6th Cir., April 23, 2012), is a challenge by  Christian evangelist John McGlone to rules at Tennessee Technological University that require non-affiliated individuals and groups to obtain permission to speak on certain parts of the campus through a procedure that requires 14-days advance notice.  McGlone visited campus to speak with students one-on-one and in small groups, distribute literature and display signs, but was told he could only do so at one rather isolated location on campus. When he spoke elsewhere on campus, he was threatened with arrest. Reversing the district court (see prior posting), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that McGlone has standing to challenge the campus rules, even though he had not applied for a permit. It went on to hold that perimeter sidewalks on the University's campus are traditional public forums, and other open spaces on campus are designated public forums. It held that the University's advance notice requirements are unreasonable, and vacated the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction.