Saturday, June 28, 2003

In one of the odder attacks on academic freedom, Ohio legislators are trying to banish any college students found guilty of "failure to disperse," one of those great vague crimes (like conspiracy or disorderly conduct) that gets used to charge innocent people who haven't actually committed a crime. Increasingly in America, police (esp. in DC) are using "trap and arrest" tactics, refusing to allow people to leave a protest, and then charging them with failure to disperse, even though they were never allowed to do so. Now students who protest will face expulsion, if the bill in Ohio passes...

John K. Wilson,,


AMY MCCULLOUGH, LANTERN, OHIO STATE U - Only a few days remain before the
fate of Ohio's budget is determined, but the declining economic times are
not the only issue on the line. A controversial provision in the 2004-2005
budget could compromise the First Amendment rights of Ohio's students by
restricting their right to take a stand on important issues, said Sen. Bob
Hagan, D-Youngstown. The bill would require all state-funded universities
to immediately expel any student convicted of "rioting" or "failure to
disperse." The state would deny financial aid to individuals for two years
and other state-funded universities would be prohibited from admitting the
convicted individual for one year. "It's a smack in the face for anyone who
wants to protest. I really do feel strongly about it; students have a right
to protest, to speak out and to challenge their government and authorities.
This bill limits their ability to do all," Hagan said. . .

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