Student group sues UMass over speech and rally policies

AMHERST, MASS. -- Nov. 21, 2006 --The 22-story University of Massachusetts W.E.B. Du Bois Library is shown across from the campus pond. There have been renovations at the library, which now includes a cafe near the entrance and, on the lower level, an area called the Learning Commons with lounge chairs, computers, a writing center, study rooms and academic advising.  -- PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY PALMIERI
The W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass. –File

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A student group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has sued school officials and trustees over what it says are unconstitutional restrictions on student rallies.

The campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty and student Nicholas Consolini say in the suit filed Monday in federal court that the university’s rules that limit when and where speeches and rallies can be held violate free speech rights.

The complaint says the university’s right to define what qualifies as a speech or rally is “unreasonable and vague.” Students who violate the policy face punishment.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing enforcement of the policy and unspecified damages.

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A UMass spokesman said he couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

Young Americans for Liberty is a libertarian group inspired by the 2008 presidential campaign of Ron Paul.

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