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Just how pathetic are college students’ views of the First Amendment?

As regular readers of The College Fix are quite aware, it is pretty damn bad at college campuses these days when it comes to free speech and freedom of expression. Yours truly dedicated no less than three rather sizable opinion pieces last year alone on the topic.

The United States is rather unique in the world regarding individuals’ speech rights, but more and more supposedly well-educated young people want the country to align itself with our First World counterparts … which restrict so-called “hate speech” and “hateful” expressions.

Above all, our First Amendment protects political speech, and few would argue that the topic of abortion is not political. But … many of those few come from higher education.

Like their neighbors at the University of Oregon, students at Portland State University recently were “chagrined” at the “triggering imagery” used by the anti-abortion group Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) during a recent stop at the college.

And what an example Associated Students of PSU Vice President Donald Thompson III set for his peers: He tore up a GAP poster from a bulletin board “because he sees his position as advocating for the ‘marginalized’ rather than the ‘minority’ of students.”

He added that since Donald Trump is now president, “pro-lifers in the context of this country are not necessarily marginalized.” Meaning, naturally, it’s OK to destroy others’ speech if he doesn’t like it.

This guy is second in command of student government.

The veep continued with his vapid nonsense:

Thompson added, “my responsibility isn’t to make sure the minority voices are allowed room to speak, it’s to make sure the voices of the marginalized [are] brought to the forefront.”

Thompson said that during the week leading up to the GAP training on Oct. 15, students had been telling him that advertisements for the training, including a large pink “Abortion is Genocide” poster in the Smith Memorial Student Union, were making them feel like they were not welcome.

Thompson said he found that the pro-life recruitment banner had not gone through the proper administrative channels before it was hung. Though it’s not common for ASPSU members to enforce poster or banner codes in SMSU because most messages displayed are “celebrated” on campus, Thompson said he took advantage of his authority in this situation and enforced the rules by pulling the banner down.

Additionally, the conversation the GAP display was attempting to bring to campus, Thompson said he believes, is an attempt to attack the right of students with uteruses “to choose and [the] right to define who [they are].”

As a result, Thompson said, the voices of marginalized students were being silenced. As an ASPSU leader, he felt “empowered” to do something about that.

Consider all that carefully … then chuckle at Thompson’s worries about Donald Trump after January’s inauguration:

If it’s not worrisome enough wondering what it’d be like if Thompson had any real power, consider, too, the speech policing of Thompson’s colleague, Associated Students Senator Yasmeen Ayoub. The senator would not have permitted “appropriation” of the term “genocide” by the GAP as, in her view, the word can only be used in certain cases:

“As a reminder, the correct definition of genocide is clearly exemplified by the State of Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians. I hope that before you peacefully but actively object such a cruel statement, you recognize the one you make by the systems you support. All of those issues are interconnected.”

Ayoub even took issue with Shayla Norris-York’s protest of GAP’s use of “genocide” … because she is student co-president of the Cultural and Historical Association for Israel:

“‘The apartheid-state of Israel’ made it ‘inappropriate’ for [Norris-York] to request help protesting the use of the term,” Ayoub said.

“All of these struggles are interconnected, and very much so,” Ayoub continued. “I know for certain that there is published theory in the world comparing the colonization of people’s bodies to colonization of land and states and peoples as a whole”

Ah yes, theory, like critical race theory, on which the “arguments” of Thompson and Ayoub are based (and which the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ Richard Posner called — rightly — “the lunatic core of radical legal egalitarianism”). Such is completely incompatible with American First Amendment protections.

Fear the future, people.

MORE: Students investigated for ‘triggering’ display get support from free speech, pro-life groups

MORE: Ohio State student government refuses to support measure protecting free speech

IMAGE: Sam Graham/Flickr

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About the Author
Assistant Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over a decade, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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