URI GOP Group Booted Off Campus: Where’s The ACLU?

Apparently, 1st Amendment Rights only apply to certain groups

(CNSNews.com) – The student senate at a Rhode Island college has drawn fire for disbanding the school's Republican group after the group refused to apologize for a satirical stunt designed to highlight political correctness on American campuses.

The College Republicans at the University of Rhode Island (URI) established a satirical scholarship to ridicule the notion of scholarships based on race, gender or nationality.

It offered a $100 grant to a student who was white, heterosexual, American and male.

In the application, applicants were asked, "In 100 words or less, what does being a white heterosexual American male mean to you? As a white heterosexual American male, what adversities have you had to deal with and overcome?"

Unamused, the senate's Student Organizations Advisory and Review Committee (SOARC) accused the group of breaking the school's anti-discrimination bylaws.

The committee then prohibited the group from awarding its "scholarship" and demanded that it publish an apology in the school paper. University officials and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) criticized the attempt to force an apology.

The Framers must be spinning in their graves over this blatent violation of Free Speech Rights. Where is the ACLU? Why are they not jumping in? Oh, that's right, the group is Conservative. My Bad!

"We're clearly upset… there will no longer be a voice on campus to challenge the leftist status quo that has become the commonplace," URI College Republicans President Ryan Bilodeau told Cybercast News Service.

Bilodeau said the scholarship was meant to be a political statement on "the absurdity in giving scholarships on the basis of the color of one's skin, sexual preference, etc."

This is liberalism and political correctness run amock. The old "free speech for me, but not for me."

Now, two points. First, I have said many times that with free speech comes responsibility and the possibility of retaliation in the public arena. That said, the free speech part in the 1st was specifically about being able to criticize the government without fear of reprisal. It says nothing about private reprisal. Which is why there are laws such as those regarding slander and libel.

Which leads to the second point. URI is a State institution, not a Federal one. The 1st Amendment says Congress shall pass no law. The "laws" passed at URI which got the group booted where at the "state" level. However (isn't there always a however?), the institution itself recieves federal money, as well as scholarships which are from federal money. Meaning that URI is actually, at least partly, under the auspices of the federal compulsion to "pass no law….abridging the freedom of speech."

Those on the Left constantly complain about BushCo destroying the Constitution. Yet, time and time again, they prove that they are all for destroying it for their own purposes.

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15 Responses to “URI GOP Group Booted Off Campus: Where’s The ACLU?”

  1. Perri Nelson says:

    I’m not at all sure about this, but hasn’t the 14th amendment been interpreted as forcing the states to abide by the bill of rights as well?

    Section 1 says “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”.

    I know that the first amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law…” so perhaps it isn’t recognizing rights so much as restricting the congress from trampling them, but the 14th amendment seems to also restrict the states from trampling them.

    The Rhode Island State Constitution doesn’t explicitely recognize a freedom of speech right, but it does recognize freedom of the press…

    Section 20. Freedom of press. — The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish sentiments on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, unless published from malicious motives, shall be sufficient defense to the person charged.

    I think the “any person may publish sentiments on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty” covers the scholarship, but I could be reaching a bit.

    Still, your point about private reprisal is something that a lot of people arguing about free speech often miss.

  2. Alex says:

    The URI student senate has tried to pull this kind of crap before. I linked to the news story at my blog, but long story short: when the student newspaper, this time, said something the SS (ahem – that’s student senate, not the NAZI group… I think) didn’t like, they yanked their funding!

  3. John Ryan says:

    The ACLU is THERE !! They protect the rights of ALL fringe groups. They sent a letter to the URI senate on April 19th, actually one day BEFORE your post. Perhaps you ought to post a correction as large as your accusation. I found this by using the search engine called “google”. I just typed “aclu uri” into the search box, relevant but fewer hits will occur if you select the “news” filter.

  4. Perri Nelson says:

    John,

    What you say may be true. It doesn’t change the nature of the ACLU. They have been known on rare occasion to defend the rights of conservatives.

    If, as you say you found a reference to the letter, why not provide a link to it? Wouldn’t that carry a bit more weight than to say “google it”?

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/URIGOP21_04-21-07_7C5B87R.330dedb.html (Membership is required to actually VIEW the article)

    The existence of the two page letter to the student senate does invalidate ONE point in the post. It doesn’t invalidate the rest of it.

  5. John Ryan says:

    Well the headline for your post was “Where”s the ACLU”
    Well the answer is; the ACLU is there and fighting for YOUR rights. As for it “doesn’t change the nature of the ACLU” Please elaborate. The ACLU has consistently upheld the rights of even the most right wing groups such as the American Nazi party. In 1968 the ACLU went to court and overturned the West Virginia state law banning inter racial marriages. 1968 was cwertainly within my living memory, is it in yours?
    So will I be seeing a new post headlined THE ACLU IS FIGHTING FOR THE REPUBLICANS AT URI ?

  6. Perri Nelson says:

    It’s not my post, so I can’t say what you’ll be seeing here.

    Let’s see shall we? How many examples do you want of things the ACLU does that show it’s nature isn’t to protect our rights?

    Shall we begin with it’s founders? With the fact that one of the primary founders had it as his goal to undermine American values and the American government? That he was a socialist?

    How about the ACLU’s actions in the case of the Mount Soledad Cross? They’ve been fighting that one since 1989?

    How about the ACLU’s recent criticism of the Supreme Court decision on partial birth abortion? Instead of recognizing that the Constitution provides no actual basis for the federal government to recognize a “right to an abortion” (which Rhode Island’s constitition explicitly does not recognize, but that’s beside the point), they criticize the courts stepping back into their proper role as Judges rather than legislators.

    How about the many, many cases where they support the rights of non-Christians to offend Christians, and deny the rights of Christians to speak their views. For example, Christian bible study clubs are attacked by the ACLU so that they cannot use facilities in public schools while the ACLU defends the rights of schools to indoctrinate students in Islam in California.

    The ACLU picks and chooses its battles. In the majority of cases they choose battles that degrade the fabric of our society or that illustrate their hypocrisy. Only occasionally do some of the more rational ACLU groups defend the rights of the so-called “right wing”.

  7. John Ryan says:

    Your problem isn’t that they fight for unpopular causes, your problem is that they win the overwhelming majority of the cases because courts side with their view of the Constitution of the United States. If they fought cases and LOST no one would care. Your problem is with our Constitution. As far as degrading our society, I believe that over the course of my lifetime (1947) our society has improved. Social conservatives do not want change.

  8. Perri Nelson says:

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree. My problem with them is not that they win the overwhelming majority of the cases. My problem with them is in fact that the battles they choose do not enhance our liberties, they erode them.
    I actually love our Constitution. I don’t particularly care for our courts. The Constitution doesn’t in any way grant them the power to interpret law as being unconstitutional. For that matter, the framers of the Constitution wanted the courts NOT to have that power because it results in a judicial oligarchy.
    Alexander Hamilton specifically sad in Federalist 81 “There is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.”
    Our courts have taken upon themselves the legislative power and reduced our liberties instead of enhanced them. The ACLU is responsible for a large part of that reduction in our liberties.

  9. John Ryan says:

    The US Constitution trumps bad law. In our system of checks and balances with 3 equal co- branches, the court system can invalidate ANY law that conflicts with the US Constitution.

  10. Perri Nelson says:

    Perhaps you should read it a bit more carefully then. We do not have 3 equal co-branches. That is not the format that the founders intended, and Congress has the explicit power to restrict the jurisdiction of the courts.

    I discuss this in some detail in this post. Perhaps you’d care to read it and debate with me? Who knows maybe you can convince me I’m wrong…

    http://perrinelson.com/2007/4/11/603.aspx

  11. John Ryan says:

    I look at the Federalist papers as being written and published in the newspaper as trying to convince the people that they did not need any amendments to the Constitution as written. However the PEOPLE were not convinced of the arguments put forth in the “Federalist” papers and dedmanded and received amendments to the Constitution which guaranteed them rights. These amendments of course became the Bill Of Rights. Without these amendments the Constitution would never have been approved by the states. Both the Executive and Legislative branches have vested interests in Federalism. The Court system should try to limit the powers of the other branches to encroach upon the Constitution.

  12. Perri Nelson says:

    By encroaching upon the Constitution itself? I think not. No amendment so far alters the limited power of the courts.
    The courts took that power unto themselves by themselves.

  13. darthcrUSAderworldtour2007 says:

    The Anti-Federalists raised the old argument that republican government could not rule a country as large as the U.S., so God gave the Federalists the wisdom to answer this by stressing the Constitution was based on a key principle that emerged from the Revolution – the SOVERIGNTY of the PEOPLE! So the power of the NEW national government would not be derived from the states as it had been under the Articles of Confederation!

  14. Perri Nelson says:

    The Articles of Confederation favored the Anti-Federalists. The Federal Government had no real power to unify the States. While Congress was able to manage foreign relations, it could not do so without the consent of 9 out of 13 states, could raise no taxes to support its actions and had severely curtailed power. The Articles of Confederation were also almost impossible to amend. This made them essentially all talk and no action. That was one of the main reasons the Articles of Confederation needed to be replaced, because the unity of the nation was at stake.

    The Anti-Federalists did indeed raise the old argument that republican government could not rule such a large country. The Constitution as it was originally written, together with the Bill of Rights balanced the desires of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists by establishing a hierarchy of government with a stronger, but still limited Federal Republic to rule the States rather than the people, and the States to rule the people. The States were required to cede their sovereignty to the federal government, but had direct representation in that government through the Senate.

    The Federal Government was quite limited in power, but not so much as under the Articles of Confederation, pretty much until the states began ceding their own representation to the people, first with portions of the 14th amendment and then with the 17th amendment which changed the nature of the Senate from a body representing the States to a body representing the People. Those shifts resulted in a transfer of power away from the states to the federal government, and enabled it to grow far beyond what it rightly should have done.

  15. darthcrUSAderworldtour2007 says:

    Admiral Perry… thank-you and when a fellow patriot recites how our glorious forefathers dealt with oppression and tyranny over 230-years ago, it’s enlightening! I read the ‘Mayflower Compact’ and ‘Magna Carter’ and ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ at work last night, along with the April 26, 1607 Susan Constance James River landing and prayer service by Chaplain Hunt…
    What a blest nation that God has bestowed on us sir and thank-you Lord! HAPPY ST. GEORGE’S DAY to you and the Queen as well! – Templar Knights of the Righteous Table 2007

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