Last week U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized a “free speech” policy at Arkansas State University.
You may recall nearly a year ago attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in federal court against Arkansas State University after the school attempted to suppress free speech by its students.
ADF says the school has tried to limit speech to sanctioned “free speech” zones. The university’s policy reportedly restricts free speech to 1% of its Jonesboro campus. When a student wanted to set up a table outside the student union to generate interest in forming a chapter of the group Turning Point USA on campus, a school administrator stopped her, citing the university’s speech policy.
At an event in Philadelphia last week, DeVos acknowledged the situation and criticized the school’s policy, saying,
As the purpose of learning is forgotten, ignored or denied, we are inundated daily with stories of administrators and faculty manipulating marketplaces of ideas.
Take what recently happened to a student at Arkansas State University. She wanted to recruit for a student organization she was founding, but soon learned it first had to be approved by the university. Even then, she still had to apply for a permission slip to distribute materials.
And all of the activity had to occur within the confines of a “speech zone,” typically obscure, small, cordoned-off corners of campus where free expression is “permitted.” These so-called “free speech zones” are popping up on campuses across the country, but they’re not at all free.
The Arkansas State student proceeded to set up shop, and was promptly removed by a university administrator and a campus police officer. She’s suing, and a judge recently allowed the action to proceed.
College campuses used to be places where students could freely exchange ideas. However, we are increasingly seeing attempts by school administrators to restrict speech on campus — especially speech by conservative and pro-life students.
Alliance Defending Freedom has an excellent track record litigating cases like this one in Jonesboro. Given that history, it seems likely the school’s anti-speech policies will not hold up in court.
Today Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument was unveiled on the Capitol lawn in Little Rock.
The legislature authorized the privately funded monument in 2015, and construction was completed last year. However, less than 24 hours after the initial monument was unveiled, it was destroyed when a man plowed a car into it.
The replacement monument includes concrete bollards to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Meanwhile, several groups continue to oppose the Ten Commandments monument.
The ACLU has promised to sue the state to have the monument removed — even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an identical monument constitutional in Texas nearly thirteen years ago — and the leader of the Satanic Temple was present before today’s unveiling ceremony, along with several protesters.
Frankly, there just shouldn’t be anything controversial about honoring the significance of the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments are one of the earliest examples of the rule of law in human history, and they have had a tremendous impact on western civilization. The Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are amazing documents, but the Ten Commandments are the great-great-granddaddy of them all.
The following announcement is from Family Council Action Committee.
AARP is showing a free movie that sheds light on lawsuit reforms like Issue 1, a proposed state constitutional amendment restricting the amount of money awarded in injury lawsuits.
Family Council Action Committee opposes Issue 1, because it puts a price tag on human life. The amendment caps noneconomic damages in cases of injury or death at $500,000. Under Issue 1, $500,000 might be the only penalty a preschool would face for leaving a child locked in a hot car on a summer day. $500,000 might be all a nursing home would pay for causing the death of an elderly grandmother.
Family Council Action Committee is teaming up with AARP to help Arkansans better understand the consequences of Issue 1.
AARP will show the movie Hot Coffee at different locations around the state from April to June.
Hot Coffee is an award-winning film that explains how lawsuits easily can be misunderstood. It also highlights the unintended consequences of lawsuit reforms.
After the movie, a licensed attorney will be available to answer questions and provide more information.
You are invited to come watch the movie free of charge; please RSVP in advance to let AARP know you intend to be there.
You can find movie dates, times, locations, and RSVP information below.
April 12 – 3:30 to 5:00
Pope County Senior Activity Center
1010 N. Rochester Ave.
Russellville, AR 72801
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/HotCoffeeRussellville
April 18 – 3:00 to 4:30
Fort Smith Library
3201 Rogers Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72903
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/FortSmithHotCoffee
May 10 – 6:30 to 8:00
Riodan Hall – Bella Vista
3 Riodan Drive
Bella Vista, Arkansas 72715
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/BellaVistaHotCoffee
May 17 – 2:30 to 4:00
AARP Arkansas Office
1701 Centerview Dr. #205
Little Rock, AR 72211
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/LRHotCoffee5172018
June 28 – 6:00 to 7:30
AARP Arkansas Office
1701 Centerview Drive, #205
Little Rock, AR 72211
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/LRHotCoffee6282018
May 22 – 2:00 to 3:30
Coronado Community Center
150 Ponderosa Lane
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909
May 24 – 1:30 to 3:00
Searcy Public Library
113 East Pleasure
Searcy, AR 72143
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/SearcyHotCoffee
May 29 – 6:00 to 7:30
Willard and Pat Walker Community Room
Fayetteville Public Library
401 W Mountain
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
RSVP for Free: https://aarp.cvent.com/FayettevilleHotCoffee
Photo Credit: By Petar Milošević [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons