Arkansas State University, to justify bouncing a conservative organizer off campus, says:
Because the mission of Arkansas State University is education, the campus of Arkansas State University is not a public forum open for assembly and expression of free speech as are the public streets, sidewalks and parks. [Emphasis added.]
Astonishing. The university traditionally has been a place for the free exchange of ideas. Where debate was more than tolerated; it was encouraged. Virtually a concept built into ever college's charter. The pursuit of truth and all that.
Here's the story: Student Ashlyn Hoggard had set up a table on the school's campus to recruit students to join a conservative student group, Turning Point USA, according to the the Jonesboro Sun (subscription required). But an administrator told her to stop speaking to students because it violates the university’s free speech zone policy.
Hoggard tried to reserve a table in the student union but was tossed because only registered student organizations can reserve tables there, kind of a Catch 22, that. Next day, she set up a table outside the student union, but an administrator told her to leave the area. The school's policy limits speeches, demonstrations, distribution of written materials and marches to speech zones usually just between 8 a.m. and 9 pm. Monday through Friday--presumably because weekend free speech is just too much to tolerate. You have to register in advance.
A suit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Hoggard and conservative Turning Point USA, notes that the zone constitutes just about one percent of the campus. Can't get much smaller than that.
Whether these restrictions apply in practice to just conservative groups, as one might expect, or to all groups including liberals, they are just wrong. For those who think such restrictions are necessary for campus life, I would remind them that the Free Speech Movement was begun in 1964 by liberal students at the University of California at Berkeley. How the hell did it happen that universities now have become the locus of free speech restrictions?
To0 many universities have today betrayed the Free Speech Movement and all that it stands for. Mario Savio's speech back then (below) is must viewing for anyone who thinks that safe zones, trigger warnings, micro-aggression policies and such have a proper place on any university campus.
Disclosure: I have done freelance work for Turning Point USA. One reason is that it is at the frontier of the fight to preserve our universities from the destruction that the autocratic left is doing to the very idea of a university.