Students defy campus ‘free speech zone’; watch what happens next

College students pushing for Second Amendment rights had a First Amendment confrontation with campus officials for daring to speak outside the designated “free speech zone.”

According to the conservative website Campus Reform, the incident occurred last week at Southern Oregon University, when members of Students for Concealed Carry distributed copies of the United States Constitution on the university campus.

The problem? They were outside the university’s designated “free speech zone.”

Absurd as sounds to someone who’s not a college administrator, SOU is among many campuses around the country that mandates where “free speech” is actually “free” – as opposed to sanctioned by the powers of the state or the college administration.

This is a group that honestly, sincerely thinks that prohibiting the distribution of the Constitution is actually living up to the principles the document enshrines. Because if Students for Open Carry is allowed to just give out Constitutions willy-nilly, as one administrator explains on a video posted by Campus Reform, the KKK might show up!

In the eyes of most college anti-gun college administrators, a student gun rights group is almost as bad.

“We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” Students for Concealed Carry member Stephanie Keaveney told Campus Reform after the incident. “Administrators accused us of causing an immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.”

In addition to handing out Constitutions, the students were getting their classmates to sign a petition to get rid of the designated “free speech zone” and make the U.S. Constitution apply to the whole campus.

SOU officials didn’t like that either, of course. But David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom told Campus Reform that campus “free speech zones” defeat the whole purpose of the First Amendment in the first place.

“Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform.

“Colleges and universities are and should be the marketplace of ideas, and the Constitution protects the speech rights of everyone, not just groups or students that a few university officials personally choose.”

When you listen to the hapless guy in this video, you get the feeling he’ll never really get that.

These kids do. And they’re willing to fight for it — even if it means the KKK will show up.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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