Students Challenge Free Speech at SF State
March 11, 2005 4:09 PM
An SF State student said she was denied her right to free speech when she was allegedly “pushed” by campus police officers at a job fair event on campus.
Paradis Esmaeili, 18, was one of the many students prohibited from distributing anti-military pamphlets at the second day of the Career Center Employer Showcase at Jack Adams Hall. On March 9, over 100 students protested the U.S. Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers recruiting tables.
According to Esmaeili, a Students Against War (SAW) member, eight police officers surrounded her and pushed her toward the doorway after she refused to leave the campus career fair on March 10.
“I told them that it’s my right to be here and the cops started pushing me,” said Esmaeili. “They told me that I don’t have a right to be here to pass out flyers.”
Esmaeili attended the job fair along with three other SAW members to protest military recruiters second day on campus.
“The military’s ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy violates the school’s policy of anti-discrimination,” said Esmaeili.
According to Ellen Griffin, university spokeswoman, there were no pushing and shoving incidents that she was aware of.
“Two students came in to pass out literature and attempted to sit down, to make an area for themselves,” said Griffin. “They were told not to, that this was not the purpose of the event, and asked to leave. UPD asked for their identification on the way out. They (the students) refused and tried to run away. They were stopped by other police and eventually did give identification.”
Esmaeili said that officers directed her to the designated free speech areas outside the Malcolm X plaza. According to Angela Sposito, executive assistant to the Academic Senate (AS), the free speech platforms were unofficially established by AS in 1991.
“I wasn’t aware the constitution designates (a) certain area of free speech,” added Esmaeili.
According to Griffin, Esmaeili was in violation of SF State’s Student Code of Conduct. “It’s clearly a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to disrupt a scheduled event,” she said. "Is the student suggesting she could go into a class and sing opera? I think there are some misconceptions regarding free speech and that should be explored.”
Registered student groups can talk to organizers of events and ask for permission to distribute literature they might be granted permission, said Griffin. According to the Office of Student Programs Leadership Development website, SAW is a registered organization on campus. It is unclear whether Esmaeili and the other SAW members requested such permission to distribute literature.
“I don’t think it (the Wednesday and Thursday incidents) will really change how we run these types of events,” said Griffin. “There are policies in place to make sure students have the right to free speech, and there are policies that govern acceptable student conduct on campus.”
“I think students should be able to protest something they find wrong with the administration,” said Allison Sharplin, age 21, anthropology major. “ I don’t think they should be suspended for executing their rights.”
Under the Solomon Amendment, federal funding may be cut for schools that refuse to give military recruiters access. SF State receives approximately $20 million in federal funding under these categories that go to educational programs, said Griffin.
“They (military recruiters) will be given access as other recruiters are, consistent with the laws we need to follow. To lose more than $20 million in federal grants and contracts will be to the great detriment of the students,” she said.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University