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ACLU Sues RI College for Violating Students’ Right to Free Speech

The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Rhode Island College (RIC) for violation of the First Amendment after the school removed signs that protested the refusal of contraceptives by pharmacists. RIC’s Women’s Studies Organization posted signs with the slogan “Keep Your Rosaries Off Our Ovaries” near campus entrances last December in an effort to announce the group’s plans to advocate women’s issues the next day, said Nichole Aguiar, the president of the group, according to Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.

A Catholic priest noticed the signs and reported them to RIC’s president, John Nazarian, who told the students that they never received the required approval to hang them, reports the Associated Press. The students argue that they had obtained the proper consent to hang the signs and that many signs have been hung in the entrance area for years. “The issue is this is a public university, and a public university can’t abridge anyone’s free speech rights — including the student,” said Jennifer Azevedo, the ACLU attorney representing the students, according to the Associated Press.
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Sources:

Kaiser Daily Women�s Health Policy Report 12/6/06; AP 12/4/06