Court Considering U Of Tennessee Campus Speech Challenge

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

John McGlone went to the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville intent on preaching God's word to college students but found himself tangled up with university administrators over a policy requiring student sponsorship to speak at the school.

After seeing his request denied, McGlone, a traveling evangelist from Breeding, Ky., sued the university, but lost. Now, a three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is weighing whether the university's restrictions pass constitutional muster.

Judges Boyce Martin, John M. Rogers and John Tarnow quizzed attorneys for McGlone and the school Tuesday, pressing each side on whether there are permissible restrictions for on-campus speech and if the ones at Tennessee go too far.

"What about going to a football game?" Martin asked the school's attorney. "Is everyone there an invitee? What if you don't have a ticket? What if you just want to tailgate?"

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