Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: When Hezbollah Trumps Old Glory

By July 16, 2007

This week, Campus Alert—FIRE’s weekly column in the New York Post—focuses on the situation at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where the school’s College Republicans filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging that SFSU administrators violated the group’s First Amendment rights by staging a five-month investigation into the group’s activities at an anti-terrorism rally.

Specifically, SFSU’s investigation centered on whether the College Republicans were guilty of “actions of incivility,” among other charges, for stepping on homemade Hezbollah and Hamas flags. However, as today’s column points out, the United States Supreme Court has consistently held that flag desecration is protected political expression under the First Amendment, a fact SFSU knew when investigating the College Republicans’ “offense”:

Even though the flag-stomping was protected speech—a fact pointed out twice to SFSU President Robert Corrigan in letters from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—SFSU administrators decided to put the College Republicans on trial for “attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment” and “actions of incivility.” An SFSU spokesperson even told the San Francisco Chronicle that the real issue was “the desecration of Allah.”

This week’s Campus Alert also emphasizes the fact that the College Republicans’ suit challenges not only the investigation, but SFSU’s pernicious speech codes in total. As we point out, among other unconstitutional mandates, SFSU’s codes require students “‘to be civil’ to one another—a rule that can only be selectively enforced against dissenting opinions on a campus as polarized as SFSU.”

Today’s Campus Alert will be the last until the beginning of the fall semester. We thank you for reading—and we’ll be sure to keep you posted when Campus Alert returns to the Post’s pages at the end of summer.

Schools: San Francisco State University