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January 30, 2013

Anti-abortion group sues Oklahoma State University for violating free speech

STILLWATER, Okla. — Anti-abortion group Cowboys For Life filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Oklahoma State University alleging the school thwarted its attempts to get its message to students on campus.

According to the petition filed in Oklahoma Western District Court, Cowboys For Life accused OSU of forcing unfair restrictions on its events, including regulating them to low traffic areas of campus, having to put up warning signs for those who might be offended by graphic abortion imagery and requiring a student to be present at displays at all times.

The petition says the restrictions were placed on its events in 2011 and 2012.

The group's petition states these restrictions were not placed on other similar groups trying to reach students.

The suit further alleges that on one occasion a sprinkler system was turned on during a demonstration to damage displays and disrupt the group's efforts.

University President Burns Hargis, Director of Campus Life Brian Sampson, and members of OSU's Student Government Association were named as defendants in the suit.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to halt OSU's facilities-use policies which the group believes give officials broad powers to refuse use permits.

According to OSU policy, officials can consider public safety, welfare, health and non-interference with academic endeavors when approving permits.


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