The Protest Rules

Dealing with student protests is difficult for universities. Since the awkwardness during the Vietnam war they’ve all become, theoretically, willing to allow student protests on campus, but they’ve set up limits so as to avoid a situation in which the protests get too troublesome. Some of those rules are more stringent, and illogical, than others.

Virginia’s Christopher Newport University has a particularly odd rule in place. According to an article by Peter Dujardin and Ashley Kelly in the Daily Press:

Under CNU’s policy for student protests, students must give 10 days notice before holding an on-campus demonstration.

But a rally with vice presidential contender Paul Ryan on Tuesday did not get announced until only two days earlier. When students asked for a dispensation to the 10-day rule because of the late notice, the school rejected their request.

Right, but the thing is, leaving aside the fact that the 10 day notice is inherently a little ridiculous, it’s actually impossible to give 10 days notice when you only have two of them to work with.

The ACLU of Virginia said, in reaction to the Ryan incident, that the school has “trouble with the First Amendment.”

This is not the first time CNU has apparently aimed to curtain speech on campus. Earlier in the year the university removed conspicuous copies of the student newspaper, The Captain’s Log, because the front-page story revealed the existence of a meth lab on campus. CNU apparently didn’t want parents of prospective students seeing that interesting piece of information.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer