FIRE President Scores Suppression of Free Speech at Auburn

Glenn Ricketts

Ho-Hum: here we are with still another college administration that’s on the job in making sure that the First Amendment doesn’t interfere with its campus climate, safety rules or ever-expanding notions of what constitutes an “offensive” idea.  You didn’t actually think that public universities are bound by the First Amendment, or something, did you?  I have to wonder if it would be easier to compile a list of schools where unfettered freedom of speech is permitted, since it would probably be pretty short.

In this piece at the Daily Caller, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff describes how Auburn University felt the need to protect its students from campaign posters supporting presidential candidate Ron Paul.  Seems that it violated a safety rule about hanging banners from dorm windows although, as Greg notes, similarly displayed role-outs endorsing president Obama hadn’t been removed.  What’s especially striking, as Greg observes, is the complete indifference and lack of outrage among the students at Auburn.  In days gone by, at least some intrepid souls might have mounted a protest – this is a college campus, right? -  but nope, not now.  At least you have to hope that it’s ignorance or easy-going indifference that explains student complacency.  Heaven forefend if they actually approve.

But check out this article from the Indiana Daily Student in Friday’s digest of undergraduate press stories, where a vigilant First Amendment sentinel blows the whistle on the subtle but steady erosion of free speech rights at IU.  I don’t know if it’ll have any impact on his peers, but I’ll bet that the administration is in a sweat.  Good for him.

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