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

The best editorial of the weekend

There have been a lot of editorials lamenting ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding [...]

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a jaw-dropping civil rights lawsuit again [...]

Will Burr and Tillis really vote for this? For much of the 20th Century, one of the labels that Amer [...]

President Trump and Congressional Republicans aim to rebrand enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest ho [...]

20—number of years since a bipartisan coalition in Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance P [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more