While there’s no shortage of excellent websites commenting about campus issues, there is a crying need for more places for students to tell their own, first-hand tales of life at the modern leftist university. At the Alliance Defense Fund’s new website, we’re creating a specific space for these stories.
There, you can read (and watch) students discuss — in their own words — the events that led to their own legal challenges. For example, community-college student Beth Sheeran describes her “up close and personal” encounter with university censorship when she tried to hold a pro-life event on campus:
Our college had recently started a program called “Stop the Hate,” which encourages students to report “bias incidents” on campus to a committee composed of faculty and students who will investigate what happened and assign the appropriate disciplinary action. Every club member present at the meeting was given a handout on what the school defined a “bias incident” to be, which was ” any act of conduct, speech or expression to which a bias motive is evident as a contributing factor regardless of whether the act is criminal.” We were also given a paper titled “The Pyramid of Hate,” which listed acts of “prejudice” and “hate,” including using “non-inclusive language,” making “insensitive remarks,” jokes, and stereotyping, which were a few steps away from murder and genocide. We were warned that if we passed out fliers as a club we could possibly be expelled. Many of the students in our club were in the process of applying to four year universities. It was not a good time for any of us to risk expulsion, and I took the threat very seriously.
Throughout my dealings with the school administrators, I openly told them that I was seeking the advice of a lawyer. My hope was that the school would understand that I considered the matter to be very serious and that they would take it seriously also. Unfortunately, in most of my conversations with them, they would state that we would violate state law or college policies by holding our event. The excuses for shutting down the display and threatening us ranged from, “Washington is a pro-choice state and we can’t use school grounds for a pro-life display,” to “your club is funded by state money so you have to include pro-choice information also.” The faculty advisor for our club, who was supposed to be in our corner, was the one who told us that we faced disciplinary action, including expulsion from school, for holding this event if someone was “offended.”
Beth eventually sued and won a resounding victory. Hopefully, her story (and all the stories) can help convince other conservatives not to settle for second-class citizenship on campus.