SHSU Students Protest Social Media Policy With Signs, Slogans, and 'Censored Free Speech Wall'
October 3, 2011
by Lyzi Diamond
Photo by The Huntsville Item
The fight for free speech continues at Sam Houston State University, where nearly a dozen students congregated in the center of campus last Wednesday in protest of SHSU's new Social Media Policy and Procedures Manual. The event also served to protest the actions of professor Joe Kirk and the SHSU University Police Department regarding the vandalized free speech wall during the original protest of the controversial policy. Indeed, the same four student groups who organized the original protest were involved in planning Wednesday's event.
According to The Huntsville Item, protesters donned signs with slogans such as "Free? Speech" and "Fcuk Boxcutters," and chanted, "Censorship, f*** that" and "Ain't no power like the power of the people 'cause the power of the people don't stop." SHSU Lovers of Liberty president Morgan Freeman said that she hoped the protest would shed some light on the implications of the social media policy, which could allow SHSU administrators to delete posts at their discretion. "They want to come in and delete everything without offering any sort of explanation," she said. "We're just worried about the potential abuse that could happen from that." If that strikes you as a reasonable concern in light of Professor Kirk's and the University Police Department's actions last week, that's because it is.
The student groups also constructed a "censored free speech wall," similar to the wall erected during the original protest, but with all profanity hidden from view. The censored wall ridicules the administration for the perceived effects of the impending social media policy, The Huntsville Item reports. "We want to show the reality of what censored speech really is," Freeman said. "The policy basically gives the university free rein over all of our content, and there is no accountability in the policy either. So, besides the fact that they want to come in and delete everything, there is no official process for how they do it."
FIRE hopes these protests will shed light on the flaws in the proposed policy and will bring more attention to the vandalism of the original free speech wall. If you want to speak up and help defend free speech at SHSU, I encourage you to use our website to contact President Gibson here.