Latest Example of Unlearning Liberty: Fresno City College

October 10, 2012

Want the latest example of students unlearning liberty on college campuses? Well, here it is, coming to you from Fresno City College, where student senators in the Associated Student Government (ASG) apparently impeached fellow student senator James Demaree for criticizing some of his colleagues in student government in a YouTube video. 

According to an editorial in The Rampage, the school’s student newspaper, Demaree offended his student government colleagues when he referred to a decision they made as a "dumb-ass decision" and declared that his colleagues "F**ked up" (YouTube video at 4:28 and 5:06 respectively) and promptly found himself the target of impeachment by fellow members of Fresno City College’s Associated Student Government as a result.  Apparently the impeaching student government officials deemed Demaree’s criticisms to be "Behavior unbecoming of an ASG senator." 

Sadly, Demaree’s run in with retaliation for speech has shaken his belief in democracy. Thank goodness, however, that the editorial staff of The Rampage recognizes the importance of the principle of free speech at stake and have penned a defense—not of Demaree’s choice in language or viewpoint—but of his right to express it as he saw fit. As the editorial staff of the Rampage so eloquently explains:

The editorial staff of the Rampage does not endorse any of the content of Demaree’s speech, and many of us strongly disagree with the things he has said, but we too believe that freedom of speech is worth fighting for, and if we don’t fight for it at the lowest level, how can we complain when it is violated on bigger stages?

Hopefully, the Fresno City College students and the students they elected to the Associated Student Government will ultimately recognize the wisdom of protecting free speech, and the ASG will reinstate Demaree on appeal. We could happily do without any more examples proving Greg’s thesis in Unlearning Liberty correct.