Wisconsin Readers: Watch FIRE on TV Tonight!
November 18, 2005
by Charles Mitchell
FIRE President David French will be appearing tonight on the Wisconsin Public Television
program Here & Now
, which airs at 7 p.m. (CT). It does not seem to be available online, but friends of liberty in Wisconsin should tune in.
During the appearance, David will debate Mike Rindo, UWEC’s executive director of university communications. It’s tough not to feel bad for Rindo, as the guy’s had the unfortunate duty of defending the indefensible: UWEC’s assault on the First Amendment
. For instance, after FIRE issued its latest press release
on UWEC, Rindo threw together a memorandum to members of the media
attempting to discredit our arguments. His principal claim is that “[c]urrently, as it has for many years,” UWEC prohibits RAs from “organizing or leading religious activities (Christian or other), partisan political activities, other ideological activities and ‘sales party’ events in their room or residence halls.” By saying this, Rindo hopes to prove that UWEC is not discriminating on the basis of viewpoint by—admittedly—banning RAs from leading private Bible studies
in the dorms where they live.
Now, even if Rindo’s claim were true, UWEC would still be in trouble. Rather than engaging in viewpoint discrimination, it would just be taking away even more
of its RAs’ rights under the ridiculous assertion that RAs have no free time and therefore forfeit their First Amendment rights 24/7/365. Anyone who has gone to college knows this is not true, and, as we noted earlier this week
, newspaper editors are also realizing it. (You can add the editors
of UW-Madison’s daily Badger-Herald
to the list.)
But it’s even worse than that for Rindo. He is now only one of many hapless university PR flacks who have valiantly tried to take FIRE on, but then found that the truth has gotten in their way. It is overwhelmingly clear that UWEC has not prohibited RAs from “organizing and leading…other ideological activities” in their dormitories. As we have pointed out repeatedly—with no meaningful response from Rindo—the UWEC administration is in print
specifically lauding “an RA in Towers North” for organizing The Vagina Monologues
“as a residence hall activity…in Towers.” And, of course, David also pointed out Wednesday
that several other clearly ideological activities have been permitted.
As always, we have the facts on our side. Those who can tune in to Wisconsin Public Television tonight will see that right on their screens.