Letter to City Attorney Demands Immediate Repeal of New Measure

Radford, VA—The ACLU of Virginia faxed a letter last Friday to Radford City Attorney Jim H. Guynn, Jr. threatening to file a lawsuit if the city does not take immediate action to repeal a sign ordinance imposing greater restrictions on property occupied by Radford University student organizations than other kinds of property.
As of this morning, the ACLU had not received a response from the City.
“Just about everything you can imagine is wrong with this ordinance,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “It could be used as a primer on how to violate constitutional rights. It infringes on free speech. It discriminates against a particular group of individuals. And as regards flags and temporary signs, it gives city and the college officials total authority to arbitrarily decide who gets them, and who doesn’t.”
Approved by Radford City Council in May, Section 120-239 of the Radford City Code prohibits student organizations from posting signs of any type except temporary signs announcing special events. Signs for special events are permitted, but only after receiving approval from Radford University’s Department of Student Activities and the City of Radford Zoning Administrator.
The regulation also imposes special size limits on flags student organizations may wish to fly and requires prior approval for such flags from the same University and City officials who must approve signs for special events.
Although sign regulations in Radford, like most municipalities, vary depending on how areas are zoned, only student groups are subject to the new restrictions. At least some student organizations are located in the Central Business District, where very few sign restrictions apply to non-student properties. The student group that contacted the ACLU of Virginia last week to complain about the ordinance is located in the Central Business District.
A copy of the letter from ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca K. Glenberg to the Radford City Attorney is available at http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/20070723-Radford-Signs.pdf.

Contacts: Kent Willis and Rebecca Glenberg, 804/644-8022

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