Peter Bonilla for ‘PolicyMic’ on How All Five First Amendment Freedoms Are Threatened On Campus

By on August 30, 2013

In an article for PolicyMic yesterday, FIRE’s Peter Bonilla reviews the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and demonstrates how all of them are at risk on college and university campuses. Let’s look at the First Amendment in full: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. As Peter points out, schools have demonstrated a disturbing ability to multitask when it comes to First Amendment violations: [I]n 2010 Northern Illinois University’s Student Senate denied recognition to the group Students for Sensible Drug Policy; its bylaws, in fact, prohibited funding to political and religious organizations. It also prohibited unrecognized organizations from distributing fliers on campus and, amazingly, prohibited groups from receiving funding if any of their activities resulted in individuals “petitioning Federal, State, or Local legislative or executive bodies for policies advocated by that group.” For those keeping score, NIU’s Student Senate managed to violate not just the right to petition the government — it violated all five First Amendment freedoms in one fell swoop. For Peter’s helpful breakdown of the First Amendment and to read about how other schools have infringed on First Amendment freedoms, check out the rest of his article on PolicyMic.