(X) Free Speech (X)

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In this day and age, it is interesting to see what type of free speech that college and universities allow. A survey of some recent cases suggests that they find political statements risky, particularly conservative ones, but pornography fair game. Consider:

–The student government at Cornell University recently cut off the funding for the conservative college newspaper on the Ivy League campus. “Welcome to Cornell,” Cornell American’s alumni columnist Joseph Sabia said, “where social conservatives have two choices: Shut up or shut up.”

The Ithaca, N. Y university, meanwhile, has no problem funding a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center. The week after Cornell’s student council cut off the funding for the Cornell American, the LGBT Resource Center staged a burlesque workshop.

“This is not stripping as it is commonly performed today,” The LGBT Resource Center web page promised. “It is burlesque, an art/dance form, a form of creative self-expression.”

“It is about humanizing, not de-humanizing our bodies and ourselves.”

–Two conservative students at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Brockport took their fears of suppression of free speech to federal court. In the past, faculty members have accused the campus conservatives at SUNY Brockport of “harassment” for distributing fliers that read “End Liberal Indoctrination on Campus.”

The school has a “better community statement” that defines free speech on campus as expression that is undertaken “only with responsible and careful regard for the
feelings and sensitivities of others,” according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Apparently, sex toys, bondage equipment and fetish regalia make this “better community” standard.

The web site of the Sexual Orientations United for Liberation (SOUL) at SUNY-Brockport links to a “Dreambook” where visitors can purchase all of the above. The SOUL website also promotes a “Free Speech Online Blue Ribbon Campaign.” This is not a blue ribbon that campus conservatives are likely to win.

–Four years ago, Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, Pa., forbid its sports teams South Carolina trips for away games and spring training, reporter Mark Young revealed in the Campus Report. The student athletes, school fathers feared, might notice the Confederate flag then flying atop the state capitol.

The administrators should also fear what visitors to the school web site might find if they click once too often. The Haverford Sexuality and Gender Alliance links to gay porn sites.