April 4, 2015

FREE SPEECH WINS: After Outcry, Buffalo State Student Government Quickly Reverses Freeze of Newspaper’s Funding.

According to The Record, USG’s Executive Vice President initially emailed the newspaper on Wednesday, alerting its staff that its “budget has been frozen.” What’s more, the student government informed The Record that all copies of the April Fool’s Day issue, titled The Wreckard, had to be “removed from campus” by Thursday at 5:00 p.m. The Vice President explained this decision by writing, “It has come to our attention from many students and faculty members that some of the topics discussed in the ‘Wreckard’ satire addition [sic] were offensive to members of Buffalo State and the surrounding community.”

As my colleague Sarah McLaughlin reminded readers yesterday, expression by students at public universities does not lose its First Amendment protection merely because it is controversial or deemed offensive. USG didn’t specify which articles were supposedly worthy of censorship. But FIRE sees nothing in the issue that falls into one of the few, narrowly defined categories of unprotected speech, like incitement to imminent lawless action and obscenity (or anything that comes even remotely close, for that matter).

Very glad that FIRE is on the job.

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