Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 28, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

ON CLICKING THE LINK....Here is why you should always click the link. Today, Todd Zywicki, writing about a controversy over speech codes at the University of Alabama, says:

[T]his is not the first time that Alabama's students have stood up to bullying by their Administrators, who once tried to prohibit the display of American flags on campus.

Wha...? They tried to prohibit the display of American flags? At the University of Alabama? That didn't compute. So I clicked:

This is, after all, the school that banned the American flag from dorm windows.

Hmmm. Dorm windows. But that still sounds peculiar. Click again:

After months of experimenting with different methods of restricting speech, the administration of the University of Alabama (UA) has "indefinitely" tabled a policy outlawing all window displays in student dormitories. The policy was issued after a student was ordered to remove a confederate flag from the door of his dorm room. Other students, aware of the threat to their liberty posed by this regulation, subsequently displayed American flags to challenge administrators to enforce the ban.

Ah. So what they actually banned was dorm room window displays of all types, and they did it in reaction to the display of a Confederate flag. That's still a misguided policy, but hardly the same as "prohibit[ing] the display of American flags on campus," is it?

Always click the link. That's why Tim Berners-Lee invented them.

POSTSCRIPT: On substance, by the way, good for the UA kids. Fighting hate speech is a worthy goal, but speech codes aren't the way to do it. First amendment and all that, you know.

Kevin Drum 8:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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