Fellow students urged to enhance insight on First Amendment right

Jacob Cook

Staff Writer


With the buzz around campus being the infamous hate-spewing preacher on the quad, perhaps it’s time for a discussion of rights and liberties, with a special concentration on local and national events.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, included in the Bill of Rights by our Founding Fathers as an inalienable right, reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Troy University’s student handbook, The Oracle, offers the following concerning freedom of speech:

“Students at public universities enjoy robust speech rights under the Constitution in order to contribute to the marketplace of ideas, learn from each other, and freely discuss and debate a wide range of issues.

Troy University is committed to protecting the freedom of speech for students, faculty and staff and will not infringe on speech that may be considered an unpopular or inconvenient expression of ideas.”

It may surprise you to know that a group of students and faculty recently had their First Amendment rights repressed at the hands of the Student Government Association.

Students for Campus Carry, whose stated purpose is “to advocate for the Second Amendment rights of students and faculty to be protected on campus just as they are off campus, and to advocate for changes to university policy if the university policy infringes on these rights.”

Note that the group does not advocate violating the current administration’s rules and packing heat on campus but rather discussion and conversation about rights and liberties.

The group’s constitution was rejected in a recent SGA meeting in a 14-12 vote.

Plans to appeal the decision have been made by the group.

This will come as no surprise, though, if you look at other events around Alabama and the rest of the country.

Alabama blogger Roger Shuler has been jailed since October after writing defamatory statements about lawmakers and policymakers he deemed corrupt and hypocritical.

On the national level, Dinesh D’Souza, director of the critical documentary “Obama 2016,” was recently arrested for allegedly giving too much money to Wendy Long’s New York senatorial campaign.

This has been deemed to be a politically motivated criminalization of dissent by many pundits.

Fellow students, I urge you to look at the Constitution and understand that inalienable rights are given to you upon birth and cannot be taken away by anyone, under any circumstances.

If you allow your rights to be given by an administration or a government, they can be taken away.

Is it not the purpose of a university to discuss new ideas and experiences, as well as to compare and contrast your beliefs against ones you are unfamiliar with?

This cannot be done when First Amendment rights are repressed.

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