The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed a lower court decision that Arkansas State University officials had immunity for denying an unregistered group’s request to set up a recruiting table on a student union patio.
The lower court had held there was no defensible reason to discriminate between registered and non-registered student groups on the use of the public forum. But the appeals court said it wasn’t clear officials understood barring a table for Turning Point USA, a conservative political group, was a constitutional violation. It said individual defendants thus were immune from damages for a constitutional violation.
ASU dropped its rules on limited public forums after the state legislature in 2019 passed a law prohibiting campuses from placing limitations on expressive activities.
That led to the dismissal of the original lawsuit. But an appeal was filed as plaintiffs sought repercussions against university officials.