Why conservatives should use the courts to fight academia's censorship
We have yet another example of an institution of higher learning attempting to censor freedom of speech – of conservatives.
From The College Fix (June 4):
After images of fetuses growing in the womb caused an uproar at the University of Southern California, campus officials plan to tighten policies regulating what banners may be hung on light posts along Trousdale Parkway, a main walkway that cuts through the center of campus.
What’s more, USC Students for Life told The College Fix, campus officials were unwilling to compromise on a way that would have allowed an altered version of their banners to be hung.
In April, banners featuring growing fetuses were hung on Trousdale light posts on behalf of USC Students for Life after the group gained approval — but the banners were swiftly taken down just a few hours after they were hoisted, with administrators saying they were approved ‘in error.’
These weren’t even graphic abortion photos, mind you – just images of babies in the womb. But since the left apparently can’t handle seeing the humanity of the pre-born, they have to shut down the pro-lifers’ message.
However, a recent case illustrates that the courts can still be used (for the time being, at least) to help conservative activists prevail in the arena of freedom of speech.
From Illinois Review (June 5):
Under a settlement agreement negotiated by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, an Illinois community college will allow two social activists previously banned from the college to hand out what might be perceived as ‘politically incorrect’ informational flyers on campus.
The settlement was reached after a federal court ruled (HERE) that Waubonsee Community College (WCC) likely violated the First Amendment by excluding Wayne Lela and John McCartney from campus on the basis of the content of their leaflets for the organization Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment. WCC deemed the speech not ‘consistent with the philosophy, goals and mission of the college.’
WCC has agreed to allow Lela and McCartney to hand out leaflets near entrances to the college’s student center on various occasions over the next 10 years.
I know Mr. Lela and Mr. McCartney personally; they’re good men who pose absolutely no threat to anyone. Yet the way they and other pro-life, pro-family activists – students and non-students alike – are treated by the administrations of various colleges and universities is shameful.
It may not be a huge victory for conservative activism, but it’s a victory nonetheless.