The Carolina Journal, run by the John Locke Foundation, made an interesting point about the band members’ protests against police officer-involved shootings, per a quote by Robert Shibley, executive director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):
Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that universities allowing such displays by band members could be seen as a university-wide endorsement of the political message the band members are expressing.
The FIRE is a nonprofit educational and legal foundation that protects individual rights at U.S. colleges and universities, including “freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.”
Part of Shibley’s concern is that N.C. State’s band director reportedly allowed band members who wanted to protest police misconduct to wear black ribbons or armbands but would not allow students who wanted to show support for law enforcement authorities to wear blue ribbons or armbands.
“If [university officials are] willing to let people take one political viewpoint and modify the way they perform or modify their uniform and not another viewpoint, then effectively [the officials] taken a position on that issue,” Shibley said.
Shibley, a Duke University graduate, played in the band.
Photo by infomatique