This week’s Campus Alert also emphasizes the fact that the College Republicans’ suit challenges not only the investigation, but SFSU’s pernicious speech codes in total. As we point out, among other unconstitutional mandates, SFSU’s codes require students “‘to be civil’ to one another—a rule that can only be selectively enforced against dissenting opinions on a campus as polarized as SFSU.”
I can't believe the SFSU administration thought they could get away with their behavior in this case.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the SFSU College Republicans and two of the group’s members, undergraduates Leigh Wolf and Trent Downes. SFSU’s College Republicans were put on trial by a campus tribunal this past spring for stepping on makeshift Hamas and Hezbollah flags as part of an anti-terrorism rally they held in October, 2006. FIRE wrote twice to SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan to stress that no American public university can lawfully prosecute students for engaging in peaceful protest or for “desecrating” flags of any kind. The university ignored this warning, with a university spokesperson telling the San Francisco Chronicle that the issue was not flag desecration but rather “the desecration of Allah.” Despite having the power to dismiss the charges at any time, SFSU dragged the plaintiffs through a five-month investigation and hearing before ultimately clearing the group of “harassment” charges.
“The Supreme Court ruled long ago that the First Amendment protects the right to burn even an American flag in political protest. There are no special protections for Hamas and Hezbollah flags. SFSU knew this, and there is no excuse for putting these students through a five-month ordeal. We hope the lawsuit will stop the university from committing future abuses,” Lukianoff said.
I hope it does, too. I wonder how much this lawsuit is going to cost the California taxpayer, who funds San Francisco State.
This has been a travesty on many different levels.