Free Speech

How Does This Still Happen? Southern Oregon U. Students Not Allowed to Distribute Constitutions

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SOU
Wikimedia Commons

Southern Oregon University administrators told students that they couldn't freely distribute copies of the Constitution out in the open, on public university property. Officials tried to usher the students indoors, to the preposterously unconstitutional "free speech zone" where political activity is deemed permissible.

The students, who wish to start a Students for Concealed Carry chapter at the university, recorded their interactions with various officials. The footage was published by Campus Reform. One telling exchange with an administrator who defended the free speech zone:

"Clearly there is a number of reasons why [the free speech zone] exists. I think we need to look at all those, good, bad, and indifferent. It's not just abut the free speech of students. When you open it up to free speech that means anyone, anywhere can come on and do that and that might create some other challenges for this campus that we are not prepared to manage."

My goodness, what is he afraid of? It's a public university: Anyone, anywhere should be able to walk onto the campus and express opinions!

The students wisely asserted their First Amendment right to canvass wherever they want. The administrators, on the other hand, seemingly made an effort not to address the fundamental free speech argument—and have decided not to take any disciplinary action against the students—which leads me to believe that they were well aware they would lose. Is the point of college merely to trick teenagers into thinking their rights are nonexistent?

A reminder: When colleges push this, the Foundation for Individual Rights eviscerates them.

Hat tip: Fox News

NEXT: Ever Pirate Music? The FBI Probably Won't Hire You.

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  1. The school cannot in good conscience permit students to advocate sedition on campus.

  2. There is no greater irony than a “free speech ‘zone'” at a public facility/institution.

    Heard this on the radio yesterday. Pitiful. Fuck America…mostly the government and associated apparatchiks, but also the people that put up with this shit. Good on the students who told them to fuck off!

  3. Is the point of college merely to trick teenagers into thinking their rights are nonexistent?

    Twelve or so years of government schooling has already accomplished that.

  4. Anyone, anywhere should be able to walk onto the campus and express opinions!

    Why do you hate the handicapable, Robby?

    1. “We were just wondering if…if…if….if you were crippled since birth…”

      /Jimmy Vollmer

  5. Let’s have a survey of millenials; we’ll ask them if the Public Good outweighs the rights defined for them as individuals in the Constitution.

    Any bets on how it comes out?

    1. *raises hand*

      not well?

    2. You know who else used the Public Good to outweigh the rights of individuals?

      1. The Neighbourhood Watch Alliance of Sandford?

      2. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Well technically it:

        “…guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

      3. Your mother?

  6. Is there any reasonable policies for restricting a free for all freedom of speech or assembly on public university campuses? For example, the neo-Nazis want to set up a 24/7 encampment of 1,000 loons in the middle of the quad, or radical enviros accost everyone putting waste into the trash barrels on campus and lecture them about preserving Gaia.

    1. There are any number of public spaces where that could happen. It doesn’t seem to be an issue in any of those. Why would it be at the campus? Those kind of things you describe are not really that sustainable and they just become part of the landscape and easily ignored if they do stick around. I live near Topeka, KS where the Westboro folks are almost always present downtown (in addition to some other crazy folks that are out rain or shine) – Their speech doesn’t harm me or others, so what is the big deal?

      Freedom doesn’t mean freedom from being annoyed.

  7. Is the point of college merely to trick teenagers into thinking their rights are nonexistent?

    That is the point of most authoritarian interactions.

  8. Are students distributing HealthCare.gov promotional material* also confined to the free speech zone?
    Are the ads for HealthCare.gov confined to the free speech zone?

    How is the US constitution less privileged?

    *(Let’s add any number of other social-justice type causes, like rape prevention, endangered species, organic food, and so forth. Are they confined to the free speech zone? Or is it mostly just conservatives and their causes?)

    1. Or is it mostly just conservatives and their causes?)

      See what they’ve successfully done? Believing in free speech, smaller government, the right to not testify against oneself etc., considered “conservative”.

  9. Amazon Smile offers charitable donations to FIRE and Institute for Justice

    1. Is it a cross promotion for the Kindle Fire?

    2. There’s a Chrome extension called Smile Always that redirects you to the Smile domain.

  10. My, how things have changed. At UF in the Before Time, we had just about every kind of advocacy group, religion, whatever you could think of all over campus. I especially remember the Krishnas and their bad food.

    1. All of the various freak shows near the campus rec center were some of my favorite things about college.

    2. The Krishas had bad food? I thought they just handed out little flowers and pamphlets. Maybe I’m remembering the Before Before Time, when you really only saw them in airports.

      1. University Krishnas, yes. Stop for the bad food, stay for the bad religion.

  11. If only there were some method of, I don’t know, holding individuals responsible for the actions they took in the name of their organization. That way, other individuals in the same situation could gauge whether or not their behaviors were acceptable.

  12. I don’t understand the administrator’s position. If I give the administrator the benefit of the doubt, that it might not be optimal to allow non-student groups to speechify on campus, these were students. Why don’t they allow the students currently attending the institution to speak freely and distribute the ramblings of dead, white slave owners?

  13. Is the point of college merely to trick teenagers into thinking their rights are nonexistent?

    Teens are stupid.
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/…..blogs&_r=0

    That’s why it’s so important to teach them three phrases:
    “Am I being detained?”
    “Do you have a warrant?”
    “I want a lawyer.”
    It really confuses asshat sub-police officialdom, like college admins.

  14. This is just embarrassing. Of all places it should be University where people can freely express their opinion. It won’t surprise me if they keep this policy regardless of all the displeasure. No one cares what you think when you are a student, I you don’t like something, you are free to go. There will be people to replace you. I do know students who use writers services in uk and study remotely just to stay away from this unhealthy environment. It’s rather sad, because this way Universities lose both credibility and respect.

  15. They’re attempting to undermine the basis for civil society by passing out radical literature (without approval) such as the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence.
    Next thing they’ll try and convince us that the United States of America is a “Free Speech Zone” – People, have you no shame?

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