Thursday, March 23, 2006

Policy

Click here to get a .pdf of the full text of the new policy dealing with the Free Speech Zones.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

UNCG still doesn't get the point....

Here's a link to the most recent development in the UNCG Free Speech Zone Saga: http://tinyurl.com/nsc23

UNCG's attorney (a grown man who calls himself "Skip") made this ignorant statement to a News & Record reporter: "[The new policy] does away with the notion of free-speech zones completely." To illustrate just how clueless he is, let me begin by explaining the new policy.

First, the good news: The new policy does NOT designate specific "zones" any longer where students may exercise their first amendment rights. Instead, they have specific distances an assembly of students must be from certain types of facilities. And, of course, the totally reasonable restriction on blocking sidewalks and roadways.

Now the bad news: School identification is now specifically required to be present on all students participating in a peaceful assembly of any kind. It is bad enough that the state of NC requires its own citizens to carry their "papers" at all times, but now students assembling on their campus lawns must also be sure to bring their school issued ID. Have your papers out and ready for inspection...

Here's the worst part: At least 12 hours notice of an assembly or petitioning/distribution of literature must be given to campus police! This is wrong on many, many levels. This means that one individual handing out pamphlets to fellow students on his/her way to class can be subject to a violation of school policy if they did not call the police station the day before to report the intent to distribute literature. This also means that spontaneous protests are not allowed ever on campus grounds. For example, immediately following the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, many university religious organizations held prayer circles and vigils on campuses all across the country. Under UNCG's new and improved policy, this wouldn't have been allowed without the required 12 hours notice. When this was brought up in the meetings where they drafted this policy, several administrators claimed that an "exception" would be made for those kinds of events. I see, I see... but what if the event in question was directed against the University itself? Or was of a controversial nature? Would they give all of those exceptions as well? Of course not. This is yet another tool used to filter the content of speech on campus.

During the spring of 2003, when the "shock and awe" attack on Iraq was imminent, many groups planned for local emergency protests to take place on the afternoon of whichever day the administration actually went ahead and bombed the citizens of Iraq into oblivion. The idea was that we all knew *what* we were going to protest and *how* we were going to protest it, but we didn't know *when*. This widely used form of protest is still illegal on the campus of UNCG.

If the Chancellor of UNCG and "Skip" Capone had half a brain between them, they would realize that the only policy that needs to exist is one that states that assemblies or groups of students are subject to the same regulations as individual students. Assemblies must not be allowed to harass or assault others, block thoroughfares, create excessive noise or incite a riot. These are all restrictions that already exist for all students, faculty and staff that attend UNCG (and for all individuals in the state of North Carolina). Why not leave it at that and let *peaceful* assembly thrive on campus?


Stay tuned for updates on continuing protests and direct action from the College Libertarians....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rhino LTE

As promised, here's the very informative LTE that the Rhino printed a few issues ago:

Right to assemble

Dear Editor,

I was proud to be a part of a peaceful protest on South Elm Street, Jan. 31, 2006 in Greensboro, to protest George W. Bush and his regime. The event took place at The Scene on South Elm Street. The group (over 200, despite what the News & Record reported) was made up of high school and college students, parents, lawyers, businesswomen and men, artists, actors and professionals.

At 9 p.m. the protesters took to the streets for a peaceful (and, yes, loud) march throughout the streets of downtown Greensboro, symbolically drowning out President Bush’s State of The Union address.

Again, all of this was peaceful without any violence or trouble making whatsoever. At approximately 9:45 p.m., when protesters had regrouped in front of The Scene, the Greensboro Police Department began to bully protesters to silence. It was the most sickening display I have witnessed since the 1979 communist shootings (of course, there were no police there then when needed). Several people were thrown to the ground for no reason and arrested (again, I was witness to this) and one college-aged girl was maced in the eyes by one of the police who walked away after she fell to the ground screaming.

When I myself began to shout “police brutality” at the officer, he yelled at me to, “Shut your mouth or you’re next”.

I have always had a great respect for the Greensboro police, as I think they usually do a wonderful job of protecting the citizens of Greensboro (my home town), but after this brutal display of strong arming, bullying, unnecessary violence, working up a peaceful crowd into a panicked frenzy, I have lost all respect for the police. They were completely out of line and dangerous in their tactics.

Frighteningly, it reminded me of pre-roundup in Nazi Germany. Is the Police Department being strong-armed by the government? I am beginning to believe that the Police Department is just as corrupt as the rest of our so called leaders.

We, as citizens, have the right to assemble and the right to peaceful demonstration and, most importantly, in my opinion, freedom of speech. We, as American citizens, will not be silenced by threats or scare tactics. (License plate numbers were also being photographed thanks to our so-called Patriot Act.) I am an adamant patriot of our country but not of the Bush administration, and this is my right as an American citizen.

I am outraged at the police for inciting an otherwise peaceful protest, the News & Record for printing such a lame and misleading story in the paper Feb. 1, 2006, which made the protest seem like nothing but a bunch of extreme leftist, crazy groups, which it was not, and the cowardice of the rest of the media for not truthfully and honestly covering this story. Someone actually had to phone WFMY to let them know what was going on. To their credit, they did send out a reporter. Whether or not we will see any of the footage remains to be seen. But there were very few news teams or reporters there to cover any of this protest which was part of a nationwide effort.

The media has twisted itself towards the interests of George. Is every media going to become another Fox network?

James Tunstall


And the Editor had this to say in response:
Editor’s Note: The police have been photographing license plates for over 50 years. It has nothing to do with the Patriot Act.