Many of us, this writer included, routinely think of college students as “kids.” It’s understandable, considering the childish behavior so many of them engage in these days. Truth be told, I engaged in plenty of the same kinds of things when I was 18 and in college, though I thought differently then. I suspect plenty of others will say the same thing.
However, despite their status in our minds as kids, they’re still legally adults. They can vote, sign contracts, and enlist in the military, for example. That means they have constitutional rights, after all.
So why is Colorado State University so determined to undermine the First Amendment rights of students for posting signs outside of their off-campus homes?
A group of Colorado State University students were pressured into removing signs from their off-campus residence that were deemed offensive by school administrators.
According to The Daily Collegian, CSU Dean of Students Jody Donovan simply “requested” that the signs be removed because of their apparent offensive and sexist content—one sign advertised that “Mom’s Drink 4 Free” and another said, “Thank you 4 your sons and daddies.”
The signs, notably, were hung up on an August 16 move-in day from an off-campus residence, though the school has a history of patrolling local housing for offensive signage.
While Donovan insists, during the latest incident, that she “didn’t force them” to take down the signs, but merely “asked if they would,” student Juan Caro, an affiliate of those living in the off-campus house, sees things differently.
“The police, the dean, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and now Conflict Resolution (the school’s kangaroo court) are all involved with the removal of the sign. That does not sound like an ask to me,” Caro asserted. His account is corroborated by The Collegian’s report, which states that the students ultimately removed the signs after a Fort Collins police officer arrived.
Sounds like Donovan uses the word “voluntary” in the same way some people say income tax is voluntary.
Don’t get me wrong — the signs sound stupid. But they’re off campus! The authority of the normal public university should end at the property line. Period. That’s especially true in what is a clear case of free speech.
It’s amusing that a CSU student doing porn, something that is generally thought to be a less-than-savory occupation, has less to worry about from campus official than students putting signs outside the homes they’re renting. Think about that for a bit.
Yes, the signs are tacky, but it’s college. Tacky stuff is common. Years from now, these kids will laugh at the ridiculousness of what they did.
What they’re not doing is hurting anyone, and the school administration needs to understand the limits of its authority. Their job is to educate, not indoctrinate, and definitely not to pretend their authority spreads throughout the community.
Sounds like the educators desperately need to be educated.