Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NEIU Repression, Defended

InsideHigherEd.com has an article today quoting me about NEIU's policy restricting free speech. President Hahs’ defense of her campus policy is really quite disturbing: “Only ‘a random newspaper that has nothing to do with the university’ would be subject to prior review, she said.” It is stunning that a university president thinks she has the power to subject a “random newspaper” to prior review, and effectively ban it from campus until one or two weeks after it is submitted to officials. (And despite what Hahs claims, the policy can in fact apply to any student newspaper, official or unofficial.) If NEIU wants to keep a record of what’s being handed out on campus, they can go get a copy from the people handing it out. Why would they need it a week or two in advance if it’s not going to affect any of their decisions and they’re not going to do anything with it? To justify this kind of repression by citing campus shootings is just disgusting. Banning newspapers and restricting protests doesn’t make anybody any safer. No, free speech is not absolute. But that doesn’t mean the administration at a university should be given near-absolute power to ban or delay expression of free speech.

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