Colleges used to be a place of intellectual diversity where students had the right to speak their mind without fearing repercussions. Within the last decade or so colleges have begun to orchestrate policies and procedures to keep their campuses free of controversy and free of diversified thought.
This was highlighted by an article that was recently published on Campus Reform. Please feel free to read the original article for more details regarding the incident and for more information about the lack of free speech on college campuses. They also have a video of the incident with the police that is exclusive to Campus Reform.
A group of Turning Point USA students were passing out pocket sized constitutions at Grand Valley State University to promote their newly formed group. While they were passing out their pamphlets two police officers came up to them and instructed them to abstain from handing any pamphlet because they were violating the school's policy over solicitation. One of the officers told the group that they "gotta be approved by the office of student" in order to pass out any type of materials. The students then asked the officers what would happen to them if they did not stop handing out the pamphlets. At first they were told that the students would be sent to the Office of Student Life while the non-students would be asked to leave, but then the officer changed his tune and told the students that they would be arrested for trespassing if they continued. The officer assured them that it was not a violation of the first amendment and that he is actually a "firm believer in the First Amendment". In the end, the students decided that it was better to end their promotion and comply with the officer's requests. Stories like these seem to happen all the time and bring up the conversation about free speech on college campuses. That being said the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) gave GVSY a "yellow light" for their policy about speech. This means that the organization is concerned that the policies may be abused by the administration. One example of this would be the school's bias incident reporting process, which essentially means that students are able to notify the school if they feel "belittled, disrespected, or isolated based on their identity".
This is not the first time and definitely will not be the last time that college students were made to feel as though they do not have a right to free speech on their campus. You can easily search for more articles like this one on websites such as College Reform, Hipline.org, and The College Fix. You will find dozens of articles concerning free speech and the treatment of right-leaning organizations on campuses.
Are colleges going to far with these policies? Is it that important to ensure that no one ever gets offended? (Unless they are conservatives, libertarians or republicans obviously.) Are college students so feeble-minded that they can't deal with views that might oppose or challenge their beliefs? Is it against students' First Amendment rights to prohibit them from handing out flyers and pamphlets or limiting them to a "free speech zone"? Other questions raised by this incident involve the campus police and their sudden want to arrest the students for trespassing on their own college campus that they pay thousands of dollars to go to. Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below and share this article with your friends.