#1 Back in the Zone: Michigan Students Challenge Campus Speech Zone Policy by ThirstyMan 12.12.2016 06:57

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By Jana Minich Posted on: | December 08, 2016

On a public university campus, meant to be a “marketplace of ideas”, it seems particularly ironic that university officials can threaten to arrest a student for peacefully exercising their right to free speech in order to advocate… for free speech.

Another irony is labeling .02% of a public campus as “free speech zones” while still requiring approval for the messages spoken therein.

And yet, Michigan’s Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) “Speech Zone Policy” does just that. On top of that, GVSU can also censor messages based on viewpoint or simply refuse to ever respond to a free speech request, since there is no time period in which school administrators must approve or deny a request to speak in the speech zone.

To make matters worse, those who violate this policy face punishments ranging from warnings to suspension and even expulsion.
These types of policies are a gross violation of students’ constitutional rights. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against GVSU on behalf of two students who ran afoul of this bad policy.

GVSU students Tim McKeeby and Joe Tucker found themselves at odds with the Speech Zone Policy while peacefully speaking with other students about constitutional rights. These students never harassed or harmed anyone; they didn’t even block the sidewalk. Still, when Tim and Joe left the small space reserved for “free speech” to talk to students in another area of campus, school police officers informed them that they would be arrested if they dared to speak outside of the speech zone.

The final irony in this story is that Joe had later watched belligerent post-election protestors as they flagrantly violated the speech policy—and no one from the university stepped in to stop them. It seems the speech policy is less about peace and more about controlling the marketplace of ideas.

University Officials Cannot Decide Which Viewpoints to Allow and Which to Ban on Campus

Other universities have similarly attempted to run roughshod over free speech, like University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire and Iowa State University. These schools seem to think that controlling the conversation is part of the administration’s job. But universities should be microcosms of a robust marketplace of ideas, a place where students can encounter new and different viewpoints and enjoy their constitutional rights.

Share this post on social media to spread the word about the continued attempts by universities to control the conversation and exclude certain viewpoints.

https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/bl...ech-zone-policy

And here's the official statement from the Dean of Students at GVSU...

Context for Free Speech

If you have spent time at Grand Valley, you may have noticed, on occasions, people gathered to express their ideas and opinions on a myriad of issues. GVSU is a community of scholars. Like most universities, our basic purposes are to advance, to disseminate, and to apply knowledge. An essential condition for achieving these purposes is freedom of expression and communication. Without this freedom, effective sifting and testing of ideas ceases, and teaching and learning are diminished.

Sometimes individuals or groups express ideas that offend others in the GVSU community. The question has been asked, why do we let this happen on our campus? Grand Valley is a public university, and as such it is obligated to uphold the tenets of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech. In addition, as a community, we believe a basic condition for achieving a liberal education includes freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas through open communication. To that end, the university has developed policies and procedures to help distinguish protected speech from unacceptable behaviors.

Lawful, non-disruptive public demonstrations are permitted at Grand Valley and are protected by the First Amendment, without regard for the point of view being expressed. Under the First Amendment, we cannot restrict these demonstrations based upon content. Under civil and criminal law, as well as university policies, an individual or group may not: deny free expression to others who are engaged in peaceful discourse or dissent, deny any person's freedom of movement on university property, obstruct ingress and/or egress with respect to buildings or public areas, endanger or threaten to endanger any person on university property, or otherwise disrupt the ability of any person to participate and enjoy the benefits of campus life.

While GVSU safeguards individuals’ constitutional rights and protected speech, we are also committed to inclusion and equity. The way that people are treated at Grand Valley matters. We want everyone to be treated with dignity and respect and take responsibility for their words and actions.

Anytime anyone in the Grand Valley community feels belittled, disrespected, or isolated because of who they are, the entire university community is diminished. Bias incidents are directed toward an individual or group because of their real or perceived race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, religion, familial status, marital status, disability, age, height, weight, or veteran status.

While these acts do not necessarily rise to the level of a violation of the student code, university policy or the law, they may contribute to creating an unsafe, negative or unwelcome environment.

Grand Valley has developed the Bias Incident reporting process to help us identify incidents that have an adverse impact on the inclusive learning environment on campus and to provide avenues for providing individual support, educational dialogue and constructive responses to address bias incidents. Bias incidents can be reported at www.gvsu.edu/bias. In cases where it is determined that harassment has occurred, the university’s Anti-Harassment Policy can be utilized at www.gvsu.edu/gvmanual under Policies and Procedures. Grand Valley is an exciting academic community where ideas are openly and rigorously shared and debated. While we may not agree or even like each other always, the university strives to be a place where people share thoughts freely, where people learn from each other, and where mutual respect and caring for one another is evident even when we must agree to disagree because of differences in thinking – indeed, this makes Grand Valley a “special” place for learning.


Eileen G. Sullivan

Vice Provost for Student Affairs
and Dean of Students

http://www.gvsu.edu/dos/context-for-free-speech-8.htm

#2 RE: Back in the Zone: Michigan Students Challenge Campus Speech Zone Policy by Cincinnatus 12.12.2016 13:42

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Zitat
Grand Valley is an exciting academic community where ideas are openly and rigorously shared and debated.



Except for those ideas we don't like.

#3 RE: Back in the Zone: Michigan Students Challenge Campus Speech Zone Policy by algernonpj 12.12.2016 14:07

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Zitat
the university has developed policies and procedures to help distinguish protected speech from unacceptable behaviors.



hmmm ... by implication speech with which the pc administration does not agree is an 'unacceptable behavior' have any of these people ever read the first amendment ???

#4 RE: Back in the Zone: Michigan Students Challenge Campus Speech Zone Policy by ThirstyMan 12.12.2016 16:15

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Quote: Cincinnatus wrote in post #2

Zitat
Grand Valley is an exciting academic community where ideas are openly and rigorously shared and debated.


Except for those ideas we don't like.


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