By Jada Butler
I witnessed the obstruction of free speech on March 18 when, three minutes after a student informed me of a new “Common Sense” pamphlet on campus, I watched two public safety officers gather the stacks and remove them from Humanities Hall. I was unable to get a copy.
It was approximately 6 p.m. when the officers removed the pamphlets. Regardless of what the contents of the pamphlet were, students, faculty and administrators will never know. It was gone before it could even make an impact.
That’s not to say that I support what is written in these pamphlets; rather, I uphold and defend students’ First Amendment right to write what they believe and to read it. That right is more important than ever on a college campus.
While watching the stacks of student speech be confiscated, I was disappointed. Disappointed in the university for not being able to handle criticism by any other means than removing it before it could spread.
I obtained a copy from a table in the Hillwood Commons Fish Bowl an hour later. There were no new claims made in the pamphlet, but there were student complaints about the following topics which were already covered
by The Pioneer this semester: mold, the “recall of “Dr. Kushner the terrorist expert” after his recent appointment to the new position of Vice President of Faculty Affairs, Hutton House and the removal of Dr. Kay Sato, a call for transparency on President Cline’s salary, and the phasing out of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).
The Pioneer reached out to Michael Fevola, director of public safety, for comment, but he did not respond to an email or phone call regarding who gave the instruction to remove free speech on campus and why, as well as how these pamphlets were discarded. The public safety officer on duty around 2:45 p.m. who answered the phone call identified the pamphlet as “propaganda,” but did not comment on other inquiries.