Censored Obama insult: Prof. slashes Free Speech on Texas campus with box cutter

September 25, 2011

Since 9/11, box cutters have had a bad name. In 9/11, it was life that was at risk, now at Sam Houston University (SHSU) in Texas, it is  liberty, Freedom of Speech, that has been literally slashed away – by a box cutter in the hand of a professor.

September 24, according to the Houstonian, the Foundation for Individual Rights for Students (FIRE) is now involved and has sent a letter to Sam Houston State University, expressing their "deepest concern"  regarding the decision "to censor students’ expression on a "free speech wall" on campus".

An article published on the Daily Caller, with the lede, "Insult Obama? Not on this campus!"  by Robert Shibley, who disclosed that he is the senior vp of FIRE, described the events that have students at Sam Houston outraged, the censorship starting with only the insult to the president.

Following is a  bare-bones synopsis of the student’s free speech experience , transcribed from that article:

  • On campus students construct a  paper-covered freestanding  "Free Speech Wall". Students participate by writing anything they want on the wall.
  • Students eagerly start scribbling: Examples include, "“Don’t hate against Gays …,” “If you make less than $200,000 Republicans don’t care about you,” “Life’s not a b___, Life is a beautiful woman …,” “Han Solo Shot First,” “My boyfriend is a liar!,” “Legalize Weed!!!,” and “NAZI PUNKS F___ OFF!!!- and F___ Obama!’"
    • "In response to "F___ OBAMA," others continued the conversation. One person wrote ‘BUSH’ under ‘OBAMA.’ Another added "you," apparently to signify saying ‘f___ you’ to the person who had written ‘F___OBAMA.’"(Source: FIRE)
  • An offended professor, identified by students as Joe Kirk, demands sponsors which include a diverse group of students, Democrats, Libertarians and Republicans, remove only the part of the wall containing the  Obama insult.
  • Students refuse, and the professor returns with a box cutter and cuts out the one and only  insult that offends him, "F___ Obama!" Before and after photos are available at FIRE.
  • Students contact campus police; students are threatened with misdemeanor arrest if they don’t remove all profanity; students disassemble wall instead.

FIRE maintains that however offensive, the students right to express themselves is "fully protected" under the First Amendment and is awaiting response from  SHSU President Dana L. Gibson.

Schools: Sam Houston State University Cases: Sam Houston State University: Faculty Member Takes Box Cutter to Students’ Free Speech Wall; Police Threaten Students with Misdemeanor