Thursday, July 17, 2003

How much is that flag-gy in the window? 

Rather than get into a sticky mess over the Confederate flag, the Office of Residential Life at the University of Alabama has decided to ban any and all displays on dorm windows. Doors are exempt, so that should be the next battleground for Dixie. Said one member of the Res Life office, "The policy has to do with the windows, and was never about flags. Windows should not be used as a political forum." Tell that to the person occupying the second floor of Brown Hall in the northeast corner office here at SCSU. There's still a huge Wellstone poster up there. Somehow I doubt it would be treated so benignly if it was a Bush/Cheney poster. The odd part, of course, is that anything is barred but the Res Life person discusses only political messages. If the policy is directed at political messages, it's pretty certainly a First Amendment violation. But if someone hangs a chartreuse shade to keep out the sun? How about a beer poster?

Folks at Alabama are not satisfied with this action. On the discussion board that is at the bottom of the above-linked news article, Prof. Charles Nuckolls has sounded the clarion call

The university's new policy on window displays represents an unacceptable infringement of the right of free speech. It must be vigorously opposed. The Alabama Scholars Association is prepared to assist any student in bringing action against the University, including legal action, if necessary. Our rights are simply too precious to allow a group of PR-sensitive administrators to take them away. We are pleased that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has already written an official complaint to President Witt. I urge all students to do likewise, and to contact the ASA if they need assistance.
Advantage: ASA!