April 29, 2004

Free speech at SIU?

It seems that a graduating senior at my university is being charged for handing out leaflets on the eve of anniversary of Mr. Bush’s war outside of the Student Center. Apparently, there is some foolish policy whereby one cannot “demonstrate” outside of a certain area on our beautiful campus.

Rather than doing something sensible — like dropping all the charges, changing the policy and then acting like we never had such an archaic policy in the year 2004 — the university is really going after this senior. He may even be expelled, thereby not graduating with honors from the history department. In the year that SIU Carbondale had a good football season and another great basketball season, when the nation mourned the loss of our beloved Paul Simon in the fall (and Bill Clinton himself came to the SIU Arena to give a eulogy) and when one of our professors was nominated to be poet laureate of the state of Illinois, this is the last kind of publicity that we need.

We will see what SIU has to say about free speech tomorrow morning, at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. The hearing has been moved to the huge SIU Arena, where Elvis Presley played once, I am told.

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