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A Court Victory for Student Free Speech

Earlier this month, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the right of public school students to criticize school policies. The First Amendment Center:

Facebook status: Expelled

Inside Higher Ed has an interesting story about a college activist who was expelled over a facebook collage.

T. Hayden Barnes opposed his university’s plan to build two large parking garages with $30 million from students’ mandatory fees. So last spring, he did what any student activist would do: He posted fliers criticizing the plan, wrote mass e-mails to students, sent letters to administrators and wrote a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper. While that kind of campaign might be enough to annoy university officials, Barnes never thought it would get him expelled.

Georgia's Valdosta State University, which has a history of clamping down on students' ability to speak out (such as their draconian and unconstitutional "free expression area"), has silenced a student who had the audacity to put up some fliers and get a little satirical with Photoshop.

Definitely read the rest of the article. It's beyond the pale what the university's rationale is.

Here's a video I grabbed from the local FOX affiliate about the controversy:

And there's a video by FIRE, a right-libertarian think tank that also looks at the larger issue of free speech at Valdosta State. FIRE is also behind the silly and distorted film "Indoctrinate U", but in this case they're on the right side of this issue, and I'm glad to see their lawyers put to good use.

This situation reminds us that administrators and students both have their own agendas, and rarely do they coincide. And when those agendas conflict, it should not be surprising to see the administration use whatever dirty tricks it can. We need to foster active student organizations on campus that fight for student power, and can organize an effective response when the administration tries to pull something like this. To learn more about what went down, you can check out Hayden's Facebook Group.

OU SDS Shows Us All How It's Done

The SDS shows it's about more than anti-war organizing -- this is student power in it's truest sense. Josh Russell's blog has all the details:

News Roundup: 2/5/07

Free Speech, Zone-Free
Students at Ohio University are taking a stand against those silly "Free Speech" zones. Such zones used to be the exclusive domain of pro-Bush rallies, but are now found increasingly on college campuses. OU's chapter of SDS is taking the lead and challenging such a ridiculous policy head on:

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