The Department of Justice and Education Secretary Betsy Devos have accused a Mississippi community college of behaving like a “police state” and infringing on the free speech rights of students.
Back in September, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed a lawsuit against Jones College after the school threatened to arrest student members of Young Americans for Liberty for their marijuana legalization advocacy on campus.
Campus police originally kept YAL members from tabling to promote this issue. FIRE decided to represent YAL and student Michael Brown in a lawsuit against the school.
The Department of Justice also stepped in to give its take on the matter, releasing a statement insisting that “College campuses should not be mini police states.”
“The United States of America is not a police state,” declared assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband, adding “Repressive speech codes are the indecent hallmark of despotic, totalitarian regimes. They have absolutely no place in our country.”
Devos chimed in as well, describing the situation as “yet another concerning example of students encountering limits on what, when, where, and how they learn.”
“This is happening far too often on our nation’s campuses. This Administration won’t let students be silenced. We stand with their right to speak and with their right to learn truth through the free exchange of ideas—particularly those with which they might disagree,” DeVos continued.
According to Campus Reform, Jones County Junior College told them that it “has reviewed the statement of interest filed by the federal government on this matter,” and that “At this time a preliminary motion to dismiss certain claims against certain defendants is pending before the court.”
The school pushed back against these allegations, telling Campus Reform that “the only alleged facts in the record come from the unproven statements contained in the plaintiffs’ complaint,” and took issue with DOJ’s statement by stating that it “broadly accepts those allegations and the merits of plaintiffs’ claims. The College looks forward to the Court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss and to developing the facts of this case through the discovery process.”
The college insisted that its “goal has always been to ensure that all students have equal and safe access to an environment free from hate speech; racial, gender, national origin, religious affiliation; and disability discrimination.”
“The plaintiffs’ allegations require the College to actively defend itself, its employees, and the Trustees from the position that no harm was done to the plaintiff by the College. Our mission is to teach the ideals of a democratic society. We focus every effort to ensure our students have access to their future through advanced affordable education that stands not only on free inquiry but promotes learning, advances knowledge, and promotes economic growth for the American family,” the college opined.
This case shows how free speech, a time-honored civil liberty in America, is still under threat by campus administrators.
Making sure that college campuses remain free speech zones is one fight that the Right should enthusiastically take on.
Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn Calls on Ilhan Omar to Resign After Minnesota Democrat Calls to “Dismantle” U.S. “System of Oppression”
Omar appeared to refer to the American economy and political system as “oppression.”
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn called upon Minnesota Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to resign from office on Tuesday, hours after Omar had appeared to endorse the “dismantling” of the American “economy and political systems,” calling them a “system of oppression.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 7, 2020
“As long as our economy and our political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shutout, we will perpetuate this inequality. We cannot stop at the criminal justice system. We must begin the work to dismantle the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”
Omar had made the remarks in the context of arguing that Democratic “criminal justice reform” was insufficient to answer the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement, calling for a more dramatic and wide-ranging restructuring of American society.
Blackburn called on the Minnesota freshman Democrat to resign hours after the anti-American speech in a tweet, stating that Omar could no longer credibly follow her oath to preserve the Constitution after referring to the American system broadly as a “system of oppression.”
Ilhan Omar took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not shred it. Omar and her Marxist comrades are a threat to our Democracy. Omar should resign.https://t.co/ujBGxbWXtR
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) July 7, 2020
Omar’s grandfather Abukar Omar had served as a government official in the dictatorship of Siad Barre in Somalia, and the Omar family sought political refuge in the United States when the Barre dictatorship-known for its human rights abuses and a mass killing of minorities thought of by some as a genocide- was overthrown in a civil war.
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