Skip to main content

Speech First v. McCall

Description:  Texas State University implemented a University Discriminatory Harassment Policy that unconstitutionally restricts protected speech of students. The policy is being challenged in court for policing the ability of students to express their opinions on political and cultural topics.

College students in class
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2024

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Travis Barham regarding a friend-of-the-court brief filed Tuesday in Speech First v. McCall with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit challenging an illegal speech policy at Texas State University that penalizes constitutionally protected speech on and off campus:

“College students have the freedom to share their beliefs anywhere on campus; they don’t need permission from college officials to speak, nor should they have to jump through burdensome and illegal hoops just to talk with their classmates outside. Texas State University has joined the far too numerous ranks of higher education institutions that use speech codes to chill and suppress constitutionally protected ideas. Fortunately, multiple courts, from Idaho to Florida, have ruled against this dangerous and authoritarian trend, and the U.S. Supreme Court has empowered students to hold school officials accountable for restricting their speech. Universities thrive when the marketplace of ideas is open to all. The answer is more speech, not less. We urge the court to reverse the lower court ruling that prohibits free speech on campus.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Barham (BEAR’-um)

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is dedicated to protecting First Amendment and related freedoms for students and faculty so that everyone can freely participate in the marketplace of ideas without fear of government censorship.

# # #

Legal Documents

Related Resources

ABOUT Travis C. Barham

Travis C. Barham serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. He focuses his legal efforts on preserving and reclaiming religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of association for students and faculty at universities throughout the country. His work has been instrumental in securing several strategic appellate court victories, including a public university free speech victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021. Barham earned his Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 2006, where he graduated summa cum laude. Barham is a member of the bars of Georgia and Arizona. He is also admitted to practice before multiple federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.