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ACLU keynote speaker to address First Amendment rights in colleges

Greg Burton, a local affiliate representative of the ACLU of Northern California, says that censorship is wrong. Photo credit: Gabriel Sandoval

Greg Burton, a local affiliate representative of the ACLU of Northern California, says that censorship is wrong. Photo credit: Gabriel Sandoval


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Two nonprofit organizations that advocate for civil liberties will come together and host a free event Friday, Jan. 29 in the Bell Memorial Union, where a keynote speaker will address constitutional rights on campus.

The groups — the Wildcat Civil Liberties Union, a student club and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Chico Chapter — plan to meet in the BMU in room 008 for the event. Stephen Sherlock, a Chico State political science professor and the event’s keynote speaker, will discuss First Amendment rights on college and university campuses.

“Censorship, using politically correct methods to silence protests is wrong, even though what somebody is saying is inappropriate and offends people,” said Greg Burton, a local affiliate representative of the ACLU of Northern California.

Protests over racism and intolerance on campuses nationwide have recently generated serious debates over the actual limits of free speech. The University of Missouri was ground zero for this last year after Melissa Click, a communications professor, challenged the First Amendment rights of a student photographer who was taking pictures of a protest. She asked for “some muscle” to remove him.

Click, the professor shown in a YouTube video gone viral, was charged on Monday for misdemeanor assault, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

While some scholars may be encroaching, Burton said others are being encroached upon.

“Professors have been fired for what they’ve been saying,” Burton said. “I could probably send you 10 links to 10 people who’ve been fired just for telling what they think is the truth.”

But those firings may be justified, observers have said. That’s because a few professors maintain the Holocaust was a hoax, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre didn’t happen and 9/11 didn’t either.

Burton said this is all right because the truth always prevails.

“We’re talking about a free marketplace of ideas,” he said.

The event runs from 5-7 p.m.

Gabriel Sandoval can be reached at [email protected] or @GLuisSandoval on Twitter.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “ACLU keynote speaker to address First Amendment rights in colleges”

  1. Greg Burton on January 28th, 2016 9:07 am

    Gabriel Sandoval,

    I wish to thank you and the Orion for covering the upcoming Chico ACLU & Wildcat Civil Liberties Union annual event, “1st Amendment Rights on Campus”, Friday January 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM in BMU 008.

    While I do think that it is appropriate to allow 1st Amendment related debate on Holocaust denial, 9/11 Truth, and whether Dr. James F. Tracy should have been fired for expressing his opinion, based on his research, on the Sandy Hook school shooting (link below):

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/sandy-hook-school-massacre-timeline/5317968

    I think it is more important, for this venue, to specifically focus on violations of 1st Amendment rights on college campuses; it was this specific focus I referred to when I stated: “I could probably send you 10 links to 10 people who’ve been fired just for telling what they think is the truth.” The following 20 links can be found on the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) website at: https://www.thefire.org/category/cases/free-speech/

    1. Louisiana State University – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/louisiana-state-university-lsu-stand-up-for-speech/

    2. University of California at San Diego: Unconstitutional Defunding of Student Media
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-california-at-san-diego-unconstitutional-defunding-of-student-media/

    3. Colorado College: Student Suspended for Two Years for Joke on Social Media
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/colorado-college-student-suspended-for-two-years-for-joke-on-social-media/

    4. Occidental College: Faculty Council Considers Resolution Threatening the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Conscience of Whole Faculty
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/occidental-college-faculty-council-considers-resolution-threatening-the-academic-freedom-and-freedom-of-conscience-of-whole-faculty/

    5. University of Oregon: Student Government Denies Group’s Funding Over Pro-Gun Rights Views
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-oregon-student-government-denies-groups-funding-over-pro-gun-rights-views/

    6. University of Missouri: Policing of “Hurtful” Speech
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-missouri-policing-of-hurtful-speech/

    7. Protesters at Yale Threaten Free Speech, Demand Apologies and Resignations from Faculty Members Over Halloween Email from Erika Christakis
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/protesters-at-yale-threaten-free-speech-demand-apologies-and-resignations-from-faculty-members-over-halloween-email/

    8. University of Akron: Unconstitutional Permit Requirements Burden Suppress Student Expression
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-akron-unconstitutional-permit-requirements-burden-suppress-student-expression/

    9. FIRE Launches Campaign in Support of University of Chicago Free Speech Statement
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/fire-launches-campaign-in-support-of-university-of-chicago-free-speech-statement/

    10. Hagerstown Community College: Political Clubs Denied Freedom of Association
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/hagerstown-community-college-political-clubs-denied-freedom-of-association/

    11. South Carolina Legislature Punishes State Universities for Assigning LGBT-themed Books
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/south-carolina-legislature-punishes-state-universities-for-assigning-lgbt-themed-books/

    12. University of California, Davis: Administrators Reverse Decision to Punish Student Club That Used University Name
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/uc-davis-administrators-reverse-desicion-to-punish-student-club/

    13. University of Toledo: Police Enforce Unwritten Policy to Censor Political Protesters
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-toledo-police-enforce-unwritten-policy-to-censor-political-protesters/

    14. Rowan College at Gloucester County: Professor Fired After Student Complaints Over Classroom Language and Course Content
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/rowan-college-at-gloucester-county-professor-fired-after-student-complaints-over-classroom-language-and-course-content/

    15. Texas Christian University: Student Suspended for Social Media Posts
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/texas-christian-university-student-suspended-for-social-media-posts/

    16. Oakton Community College: Faculty Member Sent Cease-and-Desist Letter for “May Day” Email
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/oakton-community-college-faculty-member-sent-cease-and-desist-letter-for-may-day-email/

    17. Crafton Hills College: Content Warning on Graphic Novel Coursework
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/crafton-hills-college-content-warning-on-graphic-novel-coursework/

    18. Northwestern University: Censorship of Faculty-Produced Bioethics Journal with “Bad Girls” Theme
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/northwestern-university-censorship-of-faculty-produced-bioethics-journal-with-bad-girls-theme/

    19. House Judiciary Committee Hearing on “First Amendment Protections on Public College and University Campuses”
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/house-judiciary-committee-hearing-on-first-amendment-protections-on-public-college-and-university-campuses/

    20. Blinn College – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/blinn-college-stand-up-for-speech/

  2. Greg Burton on January 29th, 2016 12:53 pm

    I wish to thank the Orion for covering the upcoming Chico ACLU & Wildcat Civil Liberties Union annual event, “1st Amendment Rights on Campus”, Friday January 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM in BMU 008.

    While I do think that it is appropriate to allow 1st Amendment related debate on the Holocaust, Holocaust denial, 9/11 Truth, and whether Dr. James F. Tracy, Journalism Professor at Florida Atlantic University, should have been fired for expressing his opinion, based on his research, on that Sandy Hook school shooting was a false flag (link below):

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/sandy-hook-school-massacre-timeline/5317968

    I think it is more important, for this venue, to specifically focus on violations of 1st Amendment rights on college campuses; it was this specific focus I referred to when I stated: “I could probably send you 10 links to 10 people who’ve been fired just for telling what they think is the truth.”

    The following 10 links can be found on the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) website at: https://www.thefire.org/category/cases/free-speech/

    1. Louisiana State University – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/louisiana-state-university-lsu-stand-up-for-speech/

    2. University of California at San Diego: Unconstitutional Defunding of Student Media
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-california-at-san-diego-unconstitutional-defunding-of-student-media/

    3. Colorado College: Student Suspended for Two Years for Joke on Social Media
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/colorado-college-student-suspended-for-two-years-for-joke-on-social-media/

    4. Occidental College: Faculty Council Considers Resolution Threatening the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Conscience of Whole Faculty
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/occidental-college-faculty-council-considers-resolution-threatening-the-academic-freedom-and-freedom-of-conscience-of-whole-faculty/

    5. University of Oregon: Student Government Denies Group’s Funding Over Pro-Gun Rights Views
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-oregon-student-government-denies-groups-funding-over-pro-gun-rights-views/

    6. University of Missouri: Policing of “Hurtful” Speech
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-missouri-policing-of-hurtful-speech/

    7. Protesters at Yale Threaten Free Speech, Demand Apologies and Resignations from Faculty Members Over Halloween Email from Erika Christakis
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/protesters-at-yale-threaten-free-speech-demand-apologies-and-resignations-from-faculty-members-over-halloween-email/

    8. University of Akron: Unconstitutional Permit Requirements Burden Suppress Student Expression
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-akron-unconstitutional-permit-requirements-burden-suppress-student-expression/

    9. FIRE Launches Campaign in Support of University of Chicago Free Speech Statement
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/fire-launches-campaign-in-support-of-university-of-chicago-free-speech-statement/

    10. Hagerstown Community College: Political Clubs Denied Freedom of Association
    https://www.thefire.org/cases/hagerstown-community-college-political-clubs-denied-freedom-of-association/

    If you study the FIRE site alone, you can discern that there dozens of 1st Amendment issues on the campuses of American University; and it would seem logical that you, as journalism students, would study them; as well as the dozens of other examples of the infringement of free speech now unfolding in the post-9/11 US police state.

    Again, thank you for your coverage of the Chico ACLU, Wildcat Civil Liberties Union event.

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