Group Raises First Amendment Concerns About RSU's Student Code

Tuesday, November 5th 2013, 2:22 pm
By: News On 6

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is criticizing Rogers State University's policy on campus expression.

The Philadelphia-based foundation is concerned about a statement in the RSU Student Code which addresses spontaneous protests on any of RSU's campuses.

The foundation says the policy is a "serious infringement on the First Amendment rights that the university is legally and morally obligated to uphold," and says that is why it's chosen RSU for its ‘November 2013 Speech Code of the Month' award.

Here is the section of the RSU Student Code FIRE is singling out:

"In order to protect the rights of all concerned individuals, any students or student organizations wanting to hold a peaceful protest must register with the Office of Student Affairs by filling out a ‘Campus Expression Form' at least three (3) days prior to the event. A meeting will be arranged with the event organizers, Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Campus Police to facilitate the event. Under special circumstances exceptions to the three-day regulation may be granted by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his/her designee."

FIRE says that is not "a reasonable 'time, place, and manner" regulation, but rather an impermissible infringement on students' right to free speech and expression, one that cannot stand at a public university like Rogers State."

This is not the first time FIRE has targeted Rogers State University.

FIRE wrote a letter to Rogers State University president Larry Rice in 2010, concerning what it called the school's threat to freedom of expression.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's web site, FIRE is an organization of college faculty members and students is dedicated to advancing individual liberties on college campuses across the U.S.

We contacted the school for a response and a spokesperson issued this statement:

"The university supports the open exchange of ideas and dialogue on campus. RSU has procedures in place to ensure that campus safety and university operations may be maintained during all campus activities, including peaceful protests on university property."