Academia

"Don't Cage My Speech!" Univ of Cincinnati Student Sues for Free Expression.

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From the fine folks at FIRE and former Reason TV producer Ted Balaker. Check it out. More info here.

When Chris Morbitzer and his University of Cincinnati (UC) chapter of Young Americans for Liberty sought permission to gather signatures across UC's campus for a time-sensitive, statewide ballot initiative, their request was denied. Morbitzer was told that if he and his group were seen gathering signatures outside of the school's tiny and restrictive "free speech zone," campus security would be called and they could be arrested.

"I think it is absurd that they were threatening to put me in jail for exercising what is a constitutional right," says Morbitzer in FIRE's latest video.

Dismayed that he might not be able to gather many signatures if he was confined to a free speech zone that comprised just 0.1% of campus, Morbitzer took a bold step: He sued his university.

"Me suing the university felt a lot like David versus Goliath," says Morbitzer, "like, I stood no chance at all because, you know, I'm just a little student."

On far too many campuses nationwide, universities unreasonably restrict students' expressive activities to limited areas—so-called "free speech zones." When challenged in the court of law and the court of public opinion, these zones routinely lose.

In this video, we chronicle Morbitzer and his student group's fight against their school's attempts to limit their speech. In the process, we examine the problem of restrictive free speech zone policies on and off campus—policies that exile would-be speakers to far off corners of their campuses or, in some cases, place protesters behind barbed-wire fences.

For a complete video transcript, please visit:http://thefire.org/article/16159.html

NEXT: Lawsuit Nudges Ohio College To Ease Speech Restrictions

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  1. I have to know what his message was before I weigh in.

    /teamtard

    1. +1 Amendment

  2. “free speech zone” It is absolutely appalling that that is even a thing.

    1. How Orwellian can you get? Talk about “newspeak”.

  3. While he is suing for his first amendment rights he should inquire about his second amendment rights on campus.

  4. FIRE is a great organization and college campuses forever show the repugnant hypocrisy of progressives. You have free speech as long as you say something they approve of.

    Yesterday I linked to an article in The Nation that said white student unions should not have free speech and assembly rights because their ideology is heretical.

  5. If the university/college is a private entity is thi snot entirely within their rights?

    1. IF, then yes.

  6. It is my understanding that the University of Cincinnati is a public entity. As such, in my view, with regard to the free speech zones, the issue is moot as no public institution, in a free society, has the right to restrict speech, particularly if the pretext offered in support of the restriction is some variant of public safety or order.

    However, if a university which is nominally private erects a free speech zone outside of which students and faculty must first obtain permission from the university before speaking, is the result the same?

    Yes, if one penny of public money goes to the “private” university.

    1. Well I am sure one penny went to build one road that services it, so there you go. You’re a statist.

      1. Predictably, you offer argumentum absurdum.

        Why defend crony capitalist, rent seeking scum who urge the state to confiscate your property for their benefit?

        1. Argumentum absurdum was where you were to being with your “one penny” formulation.

          Also, try engaging the material rather than asking loaded questions, please.

        2. Think about what you’re saying: any time the State puts “one penny” of taxpayer funds towards ANYTHING benefiting the university, the PUBLIC then owns it.

          No thank you.

          1. How about subsidizing the private university?

            How about subsidizing the students who attend the private university?

            How about guaranteeing the student loans made by banks which are already subsidized?

            If a university really wants to be private, it would not take any government money nor would it admit students who get government goodies.

            1. Thus, if a university was not a welfare recipient and did not admit students who get government goodies, I would embrace the freedom of association position as a reason to tell junior that the university could prohibit him from collecting signatures or conducting free Aaron Hernandez vigils.

            2. So, yes, you agree with my representation of your position. I think we’re done here.

              1. You claim that I did not address the material. I did. The University of Cincinnati is wrong. On that score, we agree.

                You, however, did not address my questions. Put another way, you dodged.

    2. Libertymike, you are correct, UC is very much a public entity. I was a student there in 2001 when this reprehensible policy was put in place. I am very proud of the students in this group for taking this case to court and more so for winning. I was their faculty advisor.

      1. Props are in order for you and the students.

        My wife and I attended a football game at UC on September 30, 2006. UC hosted Miami of Ohio and beat them. Tony Trabert was honored at halftime.

        1. Thanks for the props. If you and the misses are in the area I’d be happy to buy the first round, we’re in the Anderson area if that means anything to you.

        2. Thanks for the props. If you and the mrs. are in the area the first round is on me.

          1. Damn squirrels.

  7. Universities are a cesspool of speech suppression and liberal indoctrination. It’s one of the reasons whey I left academia: I couldn’t handle the rank hypocrisy of faculty screaming “ACADEMIC FREEDOM” while at the same time insisting that curriculums line up with the progressive mantra of social justice and PC nonsense.

    1. Does it count as hypocrisy when leftists professors have admitted that they do want to supress their opponents?

      1. No, imho that counts as straight up tyranny.

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