Sam Houston State Univ. Students Battle for Free Speech

By:  Raven Clabough
11/04/2011
       
Sam Houston State Univ. Students Battle for Free Speech

Students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) evidently learned the hard way that speech is no longer free, at least not on their campus. After receiving permission from the school, on September 22 four students groups  — SHSU Lovers of Liberty, Bearkat Democrats, Sam Houston Democratic Socialists, and College Republicans — had  erected a "free speech wall" in protest against SHSU’s new social media policy.

The four groups also garnered 130 signatures on a petition indicating that “they never want the Social Media Policy and Procedures Manual” to go into effect. According to the school's policy, the letters “SHSU” and all similar terms have been trademarked, and therefore any student organizations seeking to use those terms in their online identities must join a speech-restrictive “Official Community,” which gives the university the authority to approve any member group’s “official profile images/avatars” and to edit and/or delete its social media content. If a group refuses to adhere to this policy, it may not use the terms trademarked by SHSU.

On this wall students expressed a vast array of philosophies and dispositions — ranging from “Legalize Weed” and “My boyfriend is a liar!” to “If you make less than $200,000, Republicans don’t care about you." Only when Professor Joe Kirk discovered that “F*** Obama” had been written on the wall, did he take action against any of those posting messages.

Students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) evidently learned the hard way that speech is no longer free, at least not on their campus. After receiving permission from the school, on September 22 four students groups  — SHSU Lovers of Liberty, Bearkat Democrats, Sam Houston Democratic Socialists, and College Republicans — had  erected a "free speech wall" in protest against SHSU’s new social media policy.

The four groups also garnered 130 signatures on a petition indicating that “they never want the Social Media Policy and Procedures Manual” to go into effect. According to the school's policy, the letters “SHSU” and all similar terms have been trademarked, and therefore any student organizations seeking to use those terms in their online identities must join a speech-restrictive “Official Community,” which gives the university the authority to approve any member group’s “official profile images/avatars” and to edit and/or delete its social media content. If a group refuses to adhere to this policy, it may not use the terms trademarked by SHSU.

On this wall students expressed a vast array of philosophies and dispositions — ranging from “Legalize Weed” and “My boyfriend is a liar!” to “If you make less than $200,000, Republicans don’t care about you." Only when Professor Joe Kirk discovered that “F*** Obama” had been written on the wall, did he take action against any of those posting messages.

Click here to read the entire article.

Professor Joe Kirk (pictured)

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