Uncategorized

More from ACLU on controversial bus ad policy in Chapel Hill

The ACLU of North Carolina issued a new statement today about Chapel Hill’s controversial censorship of bus advertisements: 

ACLU: Chapel Hill Can’t Use Unenforced Policy to Ban Controversial Ad: Constitutional Law Group Says that Using an Unenforced Policy to Ban Controversial Ad Would Constitute Viewpoint Discrimination   

RALEIGH – The recent discovery of an approved bus advertising policy that was never put into effect does not give Chapel Hill officials the constitutional authority to ban a controversial advertisement appearing on city buses, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF).

Chapel Hill Transit Director Steve Spade recently informed Town officials that they have been consistently using a “draft” policy for transit advertising and not the “final” policy approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council in June 2011. Unlike the “draft” policy, the “final” policy broadly prohibits certain religious and political advertising. Some community members have advocated using the newly discovered “final” policy in order to ban a controversial bus ad from the Church of the Reconciliation now appearing on city buses.  

In an Oct. 29 letter, ACLU-NCLF Legal Director Chris Brook told Chapel Hill officials that they cannot constitutionally abandon a longstanding practice of allowing virtually any group to purchase ads on public buses under these circumstances. Applying the more restrictive, previously dormant “final” policy in order to ban one particular ad would constitute viewpoint discrimination.      

“The long practice of allowing all advertising on the buses, including those political in nature, trumps an unenforced paper policy and creates a public forum,” Brook wrote. “…We urge Chapel Hill to stand by its longstanding tradition of welcoming dialogue, including on its transit system. We further encourage the Town to adopt policy revisions that bring its policy in line with its practice by clarifying its bus advertising space constitutes a public forum.”

Read the entire letter online at acluofnc.org.

Check Also

Watchdog nonprofit files detailed complaint regarding misconduct of NC anti-abortion outfit

In case you missed it yesterday, the good ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

When Cecil Staton announced his resignation as chancellor of East Carolina University this week, it [...]

A "detainer" from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a request for local la [...]

Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County looks like most elementary schools in rural No [...]

President Donald Trump suffered a stinging policy setback last week when, notwithstanding the remark [...]

Everyone’s taking a powder in the UNC system these days. Everyone, it seems, but the powerful indivi [...]

A new release from NC Child highlights the plight of many who work in early childhood education: no [...]

A new and promising push to raise North Carolina’s minimum wage gets underway today. Lawmakers and a [...]

The post Profiles in courage…and cowardice appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]