Anti-abortion group sues Oklahoma State University
An anti-abortion group is suing Oklahoma State University, saying university officials refused to allow them to distribute leaflets on campus. Cowboys for Life, an OSU student organization, claims university officials singled the group out because it opposes abortion rights.
“The end result of abortion is very tragic,” he said. “That side of the story, be it graphic, needs to be brought to people's attention.”
OSU's facilities use policy allows university officials to limit expressive demonstrations in order to avoid disruption, to prevent scheduling two events in the same place at once or to protect the public order.
Olsson said he thinks the university violated his clients' First Amendment rights in its enforcement of that policy. University officials can't limit student speech based on content, he said.
Arizona-based anti-abortion group Alliance Defending Freedom is also representing the group in the case.
According to the lawsuit, members of Cowboys for Life were subject to harassment and intimidation from OSU officials, including Sampson and OSU Vice President for Student Affairs Lee Bird, during joint campus events the group held Oct. 24-26 with members of Justice for All, another anti-abortion group.
The lawsuit also alleges OSU officials forced the group to place signs around their displays to warn passers-by about graphic content.
According to the lawsuit, the OSU Student Senate later voted to recommend the Office of Student Conduct investigate the group for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. The suit alleges the inquiry was in retaliation for the group's campus events.
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