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Tue Oct 6, 2020, 07:23 PM

Sign on UVA Lawn Room Causing a stir

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Sign on UVA Lawn Room Causing a stir

By Daniel Grimes | September 16, 2020 at 9:35 PM EDT - Updated September 16 at 9:35 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A sign on a University of Virginia lawn room is causing a major uproar and now the student behind it is speaking out. ... Lawn residents have posted various signs on their doors for years with little fanfare, but now one sign on the UVA Lawn is making waves.

The sign lists various concerns the student has with the university saying it was built off enslaved labor and stolen land. ... She decided to post the sign after an injury to her right ankle illustrated the limited ADA accessibility to the lawn and what she felt was a general lack of response from the university.

“The solution was not to make the lawn more accessible, the solution was to find me alternative housing for up to a month, which in itself is a problem, like if there is, where I’m supposed to stay, and this is the room that I’ve earned and I essentially have to be kicked out of this room because it’s not accessible to me," UVA Lawn resident Hira Azher said.

She says she hopes the sign will push the university to listen to student groups like the Black Student Alliance or community efforts to defund the police department.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.

A Backlash at Last

Posted on September 18, 2020 by James A. Bacon | 94 Comments



Scene on the Lawn at the University of Virginia.

A message addressed to “Friends of UVA” by Bert Ellis, class of 1975, is passing around virally by email. Reed Fawell posted the message in the comments on a previous post but did not mention Ellis by name. Given the fact that Ellis is a prominent and wealthy alumnus — he is CEO of Ellis Capital — his opinions matter. I am republishing his open letter on the blog because everyone needs to see what has become of “Mr. Jefferson’s University.” — JAB

This is a sign posted on a Lawn Room door right now. It has been up like this for about 2 weeks. I sent the picture to President Ryan a week ago and asked if the University was going to permit such a sign to stay up on such a public place as the Lawn. I told President Ryan that I absolutely support this student’s right to his/her political opinions and hir/her right to express them on his/her Lawn Room door but not the profanity. Ryan responded immediately and told me “We’re working on it”.

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UVA Legal Counsel Opines on Free Speech
Posted on October 5, 2020 by James A. Bacon | 5 comments

The “F— UVa” sign on the door of a University of Virginia resident of the Lawn violates no university policy and is protected by the First Amendment, concluded University Counsel Timothy J. Heaphy. However, a new policy banning all signs on lawn room doors could pass constitutional muster if applied prospectively instead of retrospectively.

“A new policy banning signs would also maintain the historic character of the Lawn, consistent with its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Heaphy opined in a letter addressed to university Rector James B. Murray Jr. on Sept. 29. “Students would have ample other opportunities to exercise free speech even if they could not post signs on their doors.”

However, he warned, “a blanket rule against all posters would be overinclusive, as it would remove the ability of any lawn resident to use his or her prominent residence as a forum to promote events, highlight activities, or show support for particular perspectives or ideas.” Read the full letter here.

{The link from the site does not work. This one does.}

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News

President Ryan addresses controversy over Lawn room signs, contextualization of Jefferson statue

Ryan said that the University will consider implementing additional regulations on Lawn residents’ signage before the next academic year

By Eva Surovell
October 2, 2020

University President Jim Ryan addressed controversy over critical signs posted on Lawn room doors and criticism of the Board of Visitors’ recent vote to contextualize the Thomas Jefferson statue in written remarks issued Friday. The University will consider imposing regulations on Lawn room residents as early as next year, according to Ryan.

The signs, which contain profanity such as “f—k UVA” and criticism of the University’s history of enslavement and inaccessibility, have generated calls for removal from some alumni and community members. ... “Personally, I find the signs deeply disappointing, not simply because of their language and location, but because they fail to acknowledge any of the progress that this University has made to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” Ryan said. “I believe those efforts deserve our gratitude and respect and are a source of inspiration to continue the work ahead.”

University Counsel Timothy Heaphy — who said he has received feedback from various alumni about possible “legal remedies” the University could use to restrict this type of speech — confirmed that the signs are protected under the First Amendment and do not violate University policy or any provision of the housing contract signed by Lawn residents.

“The Lawn is a public place and those who view these signs are not involuntarily submitted to their offensive character,” Heaphy said in a letter to University Rector James Murray. “While the speech may clash with the beauty of the Lawn and violate an objective sense of decorum, its regulation would be content-based and unconstitutional.”

Heaphy said that the University could institute a blanket ban on all signs, including those that advertise upcoming events or activities, as well as those that critique the University. ... In his remarks, Ryan said that the University will consider implementing additional regulations on Lawn residents before the next academic year and before the next class of students moves onto the Lawn.

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Reply Sign on UVA Lawn Room Causing a stir (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 2020 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 2020 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Oct 6, 2020, 07:26 PM

1. University of Virginia president rightly defends student's 'F-- UVA' sign amid backlash

TakingYouAllDownWithMeHat Retweeted

“[T]here is no doubt that the speech on the sign is protected by the First Amendment,” said
@UVA
President Jim Ryan.

While the UVA student’s sign includes profanity, the student’s choice of words does not render her speech unprotected.

https://thefire.org/university-of-virginia-president-rightly-defends-students-f-uva-sign-amid-backlash/ #freespeech



University of Virginia president rightly defends student’s ‘F— UVA’ sign amid backlash
by Katlyn Patton

October 6, 2020

Last month, a University of Virginia student and resident of one of the university’s coveted residences on the Lawn decided to use the space on her door to say “FUCK UVA” and express critical views of the university. Although the student’s door sign elicited strong criticism from UVA alumni and staff alike, UVA President Jim Ryan responded by defending the student’s expressive rights, illustrating why UVA is one of the relatively few institutions in the country to earn FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating.

@UVA @UVAODOS @uvahousing
Door of 38 E. Lawn this morning. As Hoos we are better at starting conversations & effecting change. That cant start with ‘FU’, I encourage all on the lawn to express their voice, but remember you’re a public voice for all of us #Groundskeepers



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