University of South Alabama Tried to Make a Student Remove a Trump Sign from His Dorm Window
His two-word reply: "1st amendment."
A public university has finally admitted that it cannot compel a student to remove a Trump-Pence 2016 sign from the window of his dormitory.
Administrators at the University of South Alabama tried to argue that the student, David Meredith, had violated school policy by posting the sign.
"It is against university policy for political signs to be posted in windows, including residence halls," wrote Community Directory Dylan S. Lloyd in an email to Meredith. Lloyd gave him 24 hours to remove the sign—which was put up on March 30, months after the election—and noted that a residential advisor would check to make sure he had complied.
In response, Meredith sent an email containing just two words: "1st amendment." Indeed, that was more than Meredith even needed to say, since Lloyd should have been well aware that he could not actually infringe on a student's right to post a sign acknowledging that Donald Trump is the president.
Lloyd countered that the presence of the sign suggested that the university had endorsed Trump's presidential campaign, and would re-endorse his re-election. But, as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education explained in its letter to the university, legal precedent in this matter is clear: "students are strongly presumed not to speak on behalf of the universities they attend."
Thanks to FIRE's careful explanation of the law, Alabama was persuaded to drop the charges against Meredith.
Still, it's remarkable that the administrators whose job, apparently, is to monitor the posting of signs in windows didn't know that students can post signs in windows. A First Amendment advocacy group's work is never finished.