NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
by Megan Keller
The Racquet (UW–La Crosse)
The UW-La Crosse Student Association withdrew its case against The Second Supper on Tuesday, April 18. After looking into the legalities of the situation, the Student Association decided not to pursue charges that would have dramatically limited The Second Supper’s on campus distribution.
The ordeal started when The Second Supper printed an article that offended people of the UW-L community. The article that caused the controversy was “Cheney Kills Five Crips in Inner-City Hunting Accident” which used the “n” word. However, this was not just a campus issue. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), also stepped in and sent a letter to Chancellor Hastad.
The letter stated, “The principle of freedom of speech does not exist to protect only non-controversial speech; indeed, it exists precisely to protect speech that some members of a community may find controversial or ‘offensive’.” FIRE went on to say, “No campus that claims to take seriously the free speech rights of students may retaliate against a student publication because some students were offended by fully protected speech.”
Even though the paper is now going to be back in full circulation, some people are not happy with the decision. “I feel The Second Supper is a horrible representation of the student organizational power of UW-L,” stated Marques Bland from Black Student Unity (BSU). Bland also said, “Being a student of color, the fact that UW-L made absolutely no stance against hate speech truly shows me and other students of color how the university really does not value diversity even though it routinely states that it does.”
Chris Previte, a UW-L student, did not feel the same way. “I am glad that The Second Supper is staying in circulation on campus, at least those who are interested in reading it will be given the chance to. It’s not like people are forced to pick it up.”
Joe Gullo, editor in chief of The Second Supper and the UW-L Student Association could not be reached at the time of publication.
- The Second Supper’s distribution to remain in full, PDF, 107.3 KB , The Racquet (UW–La Crosse)