Phi Beta Cons

‘Beautification’ Through Censorship

This week, the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom filed suit against Oregon State University, alleging a rather unique (and outrageous) form of censorship. One morning the editors of the Oregon State Liberty, an independent student newspaper, awoke to find that all of their on-campus distribution bins were just gone. Vanished. Disappeared from campus. They called the police — and after a brief search found them all piled in a heap near a dumpster. The remaining issues in a print run were inside, ruined. You can see pictures here.

Who was responsible for this act of destruction? The administration, of course. As part of a so-called “beautification” effort, university employees removed every one of the Liberty’s bins (while leaving the other student newspaper, the Daily Barometer, untouched) and threw them away. This was particularly surprising to the Liberty’s editors because the bins were located on campus under a longstanding agreement with the administration.

So, for those keeping score at home, the administration: (1) confiscated private property; (2) without notice to the owners; (3) in violation of an explicit agreement governing the placement of the bins; (4) while leaving a competing publication untouched. All in all, that’s a pretty thorough act of censorship.  

And now, it’s being reviewed by a federal judge.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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