UW-Eau Claire decision limits its students’ free speech rights

December 20, 2005

I am a professor at UW-Eau Claire committed to the constitutional guarantee of freedom for all speech, popular or unpopular, religious or anti-religious. I am alarmed when ideas are restricted in the university.

Recently interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson announced that UW-EC is no longer enforcing its unwritten ban on religious, ideological and political activities by an off-duty resident assistant in his/her dorm. I applaud this decision!

UW-EC was attempting to avoid coercion and “unapproachable” RAs. Could these issues be solved by prohibitions? Consider an RA who asks a resident to join a fantasy football league hosted in the RA’s room. The resident declines, so the RA pressures the resident to change. When that fails, the RA ignores the resident and only associates with fantasy football participants. The resident feels uncomfortable approaching the RA...

Schools: University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Cases: University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Ban on RAs’ Leading Bible Studies