Frank LoMonte Comments on First Amendment Issues
Frank LoMonte, director of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, commented in the article “Windowpanes Without Messages” published in Inside Higher Ed on Aug. 25.
The article focuses on the Ohio State University ban on decorations in dormitory windows. The decision prompted student ire and a First Amendment debate. LoMonte claims that if the ban was for safety or maintenance-related reasons, the university would be legally protected from charges of squelching freedom of expression.
“If the university didn’t want political messages in people’s windows because it might offend passersby, that’s a content-based reason, and that presents a huge constitutional problem,” LoMonte said.
In addition, LoMonte wrote a response to “Matal v. Tam: The Galloping ‘Government Speech’ Doctrine Hits the Wall” published in The George Washington Law Review on Aug. 21. LoMonte states that if speeches are attributed to the government, rather than to an individual, the First Amendment safeguards do not apply and viewpoint discrimination is not protected.