Rock for Life-UMBC Victory! University of Maryland to Change Speech Policies

Washington, D.C. (13 August 2008) – A college group celebrated a free speech victory last Friday, when the University of Maryland agreed to change its free speech policies to allow Rock for Life-UMBC to tell the truth about abortion on campus.

"May this put all universities on notice," said Erik Whittington, Rock for Life's national director. The group is a project of American Life League. "Our message will not be silenced, nor will our First Amendment rights be abridged."

Last year, the University of Maryland twice told Rock for Life-UMBC, a registered student organization, to move its display, the Genocide Awareness Project, to less and less visible locations – thus thwarting the students' ability to exercise their free speech rights at a public university.

Rock for Life-UMBC, aided by the Alliance Defense Fund, a public-interest law firm, sued the school for free speech violations.

In court Friday, UMBC agreed to change its facilities-use policies as well as revise its speech codes. To ensure the university's compliance, both the university and Rock for Life-UMBC will give Judge J. Frederick Motz a joint status report September 19.

"We are excited to learn that the free speech rights of pro-life students on campus have been restored," Whittington said. "All the group wanted to do was educate fellow students about the horrors of abortion. How can they do that when their speech gets restricted to low-visibility areas of campus? We are thankful to the Alliance Defense Fund for coming to their aid."

Rock for Life-UMBC is not a chapter of ALL's Rock for Life.


American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.