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Youngstown State administration ‘took lead’ in eliminating ‘straight pride’ posters

Last month it appeared that student leaders at Youngstown State University — after “consulting” with the college administration (which is bad enough) — had taken down posters advertising a “straight pride” week.

However, a records request has produced emails showing that the school’s administration actually was instrumental in getting the “offensive” posters removed.

Take this email from Assistant Director of Student Activities Carrie Anderson:

Thank you for the email. I am aware of the flyers and do not condone what they are promoting. Our office has been working with student leaders and our Vice President of Student Affairs to ensure that any and all flyers have been removed from campus. We are proud that several student leaders on our campus, as well as Student Government, have been outraged from them as well.

That Vice President [for] Student Affairs, Jeff Fahey, added in his own email “As most you know, an inappropriate flyer announcing Straight Pride Week was posted throughout campus yesterday. Student leaders were told to help by taking them down where they saw them.”

This is the poster to which they’re referring.

If Fix readers actually need a reminder about the First Amendment, here’s UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh on the posters:

The message itself is fully protected by the First Amendment, just as much as pro-gay-rights speech is protected. Speech is protected even when it runs “counter [to] the school’s mission to create a diverse campus.” Speech is protected even when it “miss[es] the point of minority activism.” And speech is protected even when it contains vulgarities, as the famous “Fuck the Draft” jacket case, Cohen v. California, makes clear. If the university does decide to impose “disciplinary action” based on the message expressed in the posters, that would clearly violate the First Amendment.

Volokh adds that Youngstown State administrators have not responded to his (repeated) requests for “their side of the story.”

Read Volokh’s original story on the matter and his recent follow-up.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, 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.