Stephen W. Browne | Rants and Raves

Apr/17

10

My letter to the president of Wichitaw State University, John Bardo

This is an article that appeared on the website of The FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Educaton). It begins:

Wichita State student government refuses to recognize libertarian student group because of First Amendment advocacy

By FIRE April 7, 2017

Student senators quizzed student group leader about her group’s stance on “free speech zones,” “hate speech,” and “safe spaces”
Student senator: “We’ve seen very dangerous statements being said in the name of free speech”
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that viewpoint-based discrimination against a student group is unconstitutional

This is the letter I wrote to the university president.

Dear President Bardo,

It is with some concern that I read of the recent decision by the WSU student government to deny recognition to the Young Americans for Liberty student group. I was particularly disconcerted to read the decision was apparently motivated by the group’s strong support for the First Amendment.

I am a journalist. I got my start in journalism while living and working as an English teacher in Eastern Europe in the years immediately following the fall of communism (1991-2004). I have worked with dissidents and former dissidents in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus, and was elected an Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights in 1997.

Free speech means a great deal to me, because I have lived in countries where brave men and women spoke out for human rights at considerable risk to themselves.

I strongly urge you to overrule the decision of the student government and recognize Young Americans for Liberty as a student organization.

With regards
Stephen W. Browne

This is the reply I received:

Mr. Browne-
Thank you for your email. President Bardo understands and appreciates your concerns and has asked me to forward them on to the appropriate parties at Wichita State who will review the decision and respond to you shortly.

Anna
Anna Lanier Weyers

Director of Operations

Office of the President

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