Mesa State is trying to defend an old regulation with a lame excuse, in an attempt to keep students from expressing themselves politically from their dorm room windows. C’mon, someone is going to think that the College supports a particular candidate just because some students have signs in dorm windows?
Please. That’s like saying that people will think that the College has Klan sympathies because they named the soccer field after Walter Walker.
These kinds of attempts at curtailing speech have cropped up on several campuses this year, including one at the University of Texas that involved the exact same issue as what’s happening at Mesa. The two students in Texas were actually facing expulsion from the school, until the University President caved to significant pressure and suspended the sign policy, pending review.
Several advocacy groups have weighed in and generated significant attention on similar attempts to curtail speech at the Universities of Illinois and Oklahoma, the latter going so far as to attempt to restrict political speech in e-mail.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), along with the Student Press Law Center, are two organizations spearheading the effort to challenge speech codes and other restrictions on free and responsible expression at college campuses. This is particularly odious when it occurs at publicly-owned colleges like Mesa State.
I went looking for more detailed coverage of the issue in the student newspaper, the Criterion, but their most recent issue makes no mention of it. They did, however offer extensive sports coverage and an endorsement of John McCain. Kinda got me longing for the Crite when Mark Borgard, or Megan Fromm, were at the helm.
President Foster, you’re behind the curve on this one. Perhaps you should drop back ten and punt, unless you like the potential attention that your policy action will bring from advocacy groups, along with the national college and mainstream media. Several institutions with a much bigger reputation and pedigree than yours have already been through this, and came up on the losing side.
In the meantime, best wishes to Jenna Creighton and Anna Johnson. Your courage and conviction is admirable.