Monday, October 05, 2009

EKU Free Speech Demonstration Expected to go off Without a Hitch

EKU President Doug Whitlock told the Faculty Senate late today that he expects student demonstrators to protest on campus tomorrow - outside of so called "Free Speech Zones" and without any trouble from the university.

Whitlock told the Senators the "institution is not concerned." On the contrary, Whitlock said the "free exchange of ideas" is crucial to the university environment and it is "healthy for our students to be engaged" in politics.

Whitlock said that opinions expressed in two recent letters that ran in the Eastern Progress "grew out of a misunderstanding" of free speech zones.

The university does have such a policy, but the Free Speech Zone policy applies only to off-campus individuals."

Whitlock reminded veteran Eastern faculty of an evangelical preacher who used to accost students and faculty on campus and essentially tell them all they were going to hell...or worse. While the campus is public, it exists to fulfill a specific purpose in law, so free speech zones were established to allow the work of the university to continue and provide a venue for the preacher's (and other off campus individuals) expressions at the same time. After that, the preacher was placed near the chapel on campus where he drew crowds - and essentially told them all they were going to hell...and worse.

Tomorrow morning at 9 AM, some Young Republicans are going to protest EKU's lack of tolerance for free speech - all over campus. And apparently, the campus police aren't going to care.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Whitlock is doing the right thing at EKU.

Maybe, one day, public school teachers will have the degree of academic freedom offered to university professors and students. Maybe, one day, some of us will be able to challenge our principals and superintedents without signing "anonymous" at the end of our posts.

Anonymous said...

After I read this article, I wondered if the author was taking a slap at the Young Republicans for insisting that free speech does not exist at EKU.