Auburn University doctoral student Allen Mendenhall has written an op-ed for today’s Montgomery Advertiser criticizing Auburn’s decision to censor a Ron Paul banner in the dormitory window of student Eric Philips.
Allen, a FIRE Campus Freedom Network member, explains that Philips’ case is of particular concern to him because of his extensive family connections to Auburn and his love of the school—he describes himself as “bleeding orange and blue.” Allen expresses his frustration at Auburn’s seemingly flippant attitude towards the First Amendment and student rights, writing:
President Gogue and the Auburn administration ought to revise these strict policies. The prohibition of all window displays is unreasonable and, when it is selectively enforced, potentially unconstitutional. The selective enforcement of Auburn’s policy may constitute discrimination against the viewpoints of those who agree with Congressman Paul. If that’s the case, Auburn is flirting with a lawsuit.
It is one thing to regulate student behavior on campus. It is quite another to run afoul of the guarantees of the First Amendment.
We’re not surprised to see that Auburn’s double standard and overt censorship has drawn the ire of not only a wide network of free speech activists, but of those for whom free speech at Auburn matters most—Auburn students. We thank Allen for his commentary.
Allen learned about the FIRE case at Auburn through the Campus Freedom Network, our loosely-knit coalition of students and faculty committed to protecting the First Amendment and individual rights on our nation’s campuses. If you’d like to learn more about the CFN and how we can provide resources and help empower students and faculty on campus, head to the CFN website.