N.C. State Settles Free-Speech Lawsuit by Revising Disputed Policy

A Christian student group has withdrawn a lawsuit alleging that North Carolina State University administrators violated the group’s free-speech rights after the university revised a disputed policy, The News & Observer reported.

Under the policy, the Christian group was required to obtain a permit to speak or distribute its literature on the campus.

A federal judge last month ordered the university to temporarily cease enforcing its policy while the lawsuit by the student group, Grace Christian Life, was heard. Such orders are often a sign of how a court is likely to rule on the merits of a case.

But now the university has changed the 23-year-old policy so that no permit is needed for noncommercial speech, the newspaper reported. North Carolina State also agreed to pay $72,500 in legal fees accumulated by Grace Christian Life.

The university is one of several higher-education institutions to be crafting new free-speech policies at a time of protest and activism on campuses across the United States.

A university spokesman told the newspaper that North Carolina State had “revised and clarified its solicitation policy to better align with our intent and application of the procedure,” a logical step to end a lawsuit that was “essentially regarding an administrative process.”

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