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Restrictive Free Speech Zones

Southern Oregon University (SOU) is a public liberal college supported by taxpayer money. They’ve recently come under scrutiny for what some students are calling overly restrictive free speech zones. Students wanted to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution to educate other students about our right to free speech. They were silenced by the institution and remanded to the designated free speech zones.

I can only imagine that the designated free speech zones were not in a strategic area to reach the target audience. Those handing out materials wanted to be able to stand in front of residential buildings.

The question remains… does the Constitution ever place limits on our rights to free speech? There’s expectations of civility, decorum, and the expected use of common sense. But where is that line drawn? Certainly, yelling “fire” in a crowded building or anything else that would cause panic or harm to people is off limits.

Several students commented on SOU’s Facebook page that they didn’t want to be inconvenienced by people handing out material or trying to speak with them while going to and from their residence. Is that “inconvenience” sufficient to limit someone else’s right to free speech? Doubtful. Part of the goal of being in college is learning to be an adult. And part of being an adult is learning to politely and quickly decline offers and even to skillfully ignore when necessary. You’ll be faced with plenty of “inconveniences” as an adult. You might as well start practicing now.

When the people handing out materials become aggressive or are no longer peaceful, then it becomes an issue violating your rights. Until then, you are not protected from being “inconvenienced,” especially on a college campus supported by taxpayer money. Sorry.

You can read the story here.

Photo credit Derek Severson

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Tammy Messina

Christ following, wife, mother, grandmother, and small business owner with passions for holistic wellness, gardening, raising critters, and preserving our Constitutional liberties especially free speech, religious freedom, and the 2nd Amendment. God gave me the most wonderful husband, who I love dearly and am grateful to have the opportunity to work with every day as his Producer in this Real Side venture. When you see my posts, they are truly mine. So please don't hold him accountable for what I write. Contrary to what some say, I'm not a Stepford wife. I have my own opinions and am willing to share some of them here.

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