SGA doesn’t want to hear it

Jesse Call

Some student leaders are done with being told they are going to hell. Emotions were stirred up when members of the Student Government Association were asked to address a proposed university policy aimed at ending the free reign of unsolicited speakers on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.

The policy is aimed at placing time, place and manner restrictions on those speakers not invited by the university.

They would be designated to certain areas of the campus and required to schedule their visit and receive approval from the administration, Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple said. He also said the policy is based on those of other Kentucky universities.

Senators asked many questions about the policy and engaged in spirited discussion, as many felt that previous speakers on campus had crossed the line of “acceptable” speech by condemning students based on their personal lifestyles.

“That’s the problem with free speech, guys,” Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple said to those student leaders who felt the policy needed to be even stronger. He said that, although that speech may be offensive to some listeners, the speaker is probably entitled to say it and the university cannot usually engage in censoring the content of a visitor’s speech.

Waple also said the policy’s scheduling requirement would end a continuing complaint from the Office of Admissions about having to bypass the speakers during campus tours and when schoolchildren visit. He said he believes the policy will also help to avoid multiple speakers throughout campus trying to speak over one another.

Under current policy, Waple told student leaders there is nothing to stop historically controversial groups like the Ku Klux Klan from randomly appearing on campus and shouting their messages to passers-by.

The SGA took no formal action to indicate whether or not they approve of the policy which will eventually make its way up to the Board of Regents for approval.

In other business before the SGA, Vice President for Student Involvement Dustin Robinson announced that the university had invited several local business to participate in the Norse Nights project, which aims to provide discounts to members of the NKU community showing their pride on game days. He said a team of volunteers from the SGA will be following up to encourage businesses to participate.

Story by Jesse Call

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One Response to “SGA doesn’t want to hear it”

  1. NKU Dean to Students: 'That's the problem with free speech, guys' - FIRE on January 27th, 2011 12:37 pm

    [...] Waple told student government officials, "[t]hat's the problem with free speech, guys." According to the The Northerner, an independent student newspaper at NKU, Waple was responding to concerns some students had [...]

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