Professor Mead has threatened a lawsuit against the City of Akron unless the City immediately repeals its anti-panhandling ordinance. Under Akron’s ordinance, individuals who are soliciting donations are required to obtain a license from the City, are banned from asking for donations after dark, and are prohibited from soliciting in various public spaces throughout the city. In a letter and supporting memorandum sent to the Mayor and City Council, available here, Professor Mead explains how these restrictions unconstitutionally discriminate against charitable solicitation and violate the First Amendment right to communicate one’s needs.
These arguments build on Professor Mead’s publication, The First Amendment Protection of Charitable Speech, which was published last year in the Ohio State Law Journal Furthermore. Professor Mead has a joint appointment with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, and is handling this matter in connection with the ACLU of Ohio.