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In 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a survey of 346 colleges and Universities in the United States.[42] Of those institutions, 259 (75%) maintain policies that "both clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech."

In December 2005, the College Libertarians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro staged a protest outside the University's designated protest zones. The specific intent of the protest was to provoke just such a charge, in order to "provoke the system into action into a critical review of what's going on."[43] Two students, Allison Jaynes and Robert Sinnott, were brought up on charges under the student code of conduct of "violation of respect",[44] for refusing to move when told to do so by a university official.[43] The university subsequently dropped honor code charges against the students.[43] "University officials said the history of the free-speech zones is not known. 'It predated just about everybody here", said Lucien 'Skip' Capone III, the university attorney. The policy may be a holdover from the Vietnam War and civil rights era, he said.'"[43]

A number of colleges and universities have revised or revoked free speech zone policies in the last decade, including: Tufts University,[4

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that non-disruptive speech is permitted in public schools. However, this does not apply to private universities. In September 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings struck down the free speech zone policy at Texas Tech University.

According to the opinion of the court, campus areas such as parks, sidewalks, streets and other areas are designated as public forums, regardless of whether the university has chosen to officially designate the areas as such. The university may open more of the campus as public forums for its students, but it cannot designate fewer areas ... Not all places within the boundaries of the campus are public forums, according to Cummings' opinion. The court declared the university's policy unconstitutional to the extent that it regulates the content of student speech in areas of the campus that are public forums.[41]

In 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a survey of 346 colleges and Universities in the United States.[42] Of those institutions, 259 (75%) maintain policies that "both clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech."

In December

In December 2005, the College Libertarians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro staged a protest outside the University's designated protest zones. The specific intent of the protest was to provoke just such a charge, in order to "provoke the system into action into a critical review of what's going on."[43] Two students, Allison Jaynes and Robert Sinnott, were brought up on charges under the student code of conduct of "violation of respect",[44] for refusing to move when told to do so by a university official.[43] The university subsequently dropped honor code charges against the students.[43] "University officials said the history of the free-speech zones is not known. 'It predated just about everybody here", said Lucien 'Skip' Capone III, the university attorney. The policy may be a holdover from the Vietnam War and civil rights era, he said.'"[43]

A number of colleges and universities have revised or revoked free speech zone policies in the last decade, including: Tufts University,[45] Appalachian State University,[45] and West Virginia University.[45][46] In August, 2006, Penn State University revised its seven-year-old rules restricting the rights of students to protest. "In effect, the whole campus is now a 'free-speech zone.'"[47]

Controversies have also occurred at the University of Southern California,[48] Indiana University,[49] the University of Nevada, Las Vegas,[50] and Brigham Young University.[51][52]

At Marquette University, philosophy department chairman James South ordered graduate student Stuart Ditsler to remove an unattributed Dave Barry quote from the door to the office that Ditsler shared with three other teaching assistants, calling the quote patently offensive. (The quote was: "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.") South claimed that the University's free-speech zone rules required Ditsler to take it down. University spokeswoman Brigid O'Brien Miller stated that it was "a workplace issue, not one of academic freedom."[53][54] Ultimately, the quote was allowed to remain, albeit with attribution.[55]

For example, the Louisiana State University Free Speech Alley (or Free Speech Plaza) was utilized in November 2015 when Louisiana gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards was publicly endorsed by former opponent and Republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.[56] The Consuming Fire Fellowship, a church located in rural Woodville, Mississippi, often sends members to convene at the universities free speech alley to preach their views of Christianity. The members have often been met with strong resistance and resentment by the student body.[57][58] Ivan Imes, a retired engineer who holds "Jesus Talks" for students at the university, said in an interview that he advised students frustrated with the preachings of the Consuming Fire Fellowship, "to give the church a break. They don't understand love. They don't understand forgiveness. There are a lot of things in the Bible that they don’t understand, or at least don’t live out."[59]

As of March 2017, four states had passed legislation outlawing public colleges and universities from establishing free speech zones. The first state to do so was Virginia in 2014,[60] followed by Missouri in 2015,[61] Arizona in 2016,[62] and Kentucky in 2017.[63]

Designated protest areas were established during the August 2007 Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America Summit in Ottawa, Canada. Although use of the areas was voluntary and not surrounded by fences, some protesters decried the use of designated protest areas, calling them "protest pens."[64]

During the 2005 WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, over 10,000 protesters were present. Wan Chai Sports Ground and Wan Chai Cargo Handling Basin were designated as protest zones. Police wielded sticks, used gas grenades and shot rubber bullets at some of the protesters. They arrested 910 people, 14 were charged, but none were convicted.

Three protest parks were designated in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, at the suggestion of the IOC. All 77 applications to protest there had been withdrawn or denied, and no protests took place. Four persons who applied to protest were arrested or sentenced to reeducation.[65][66]

In the Philippines, public spaces that are designated as free speech zones are called freedom parks.

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