Democrats Discuss: Letter to President Nellis

Dear Dr. Nellis,

As you near making your decision on implementing a version of policy 24.014, the Ohio University College Democrats chapter urges you to rescind any form of this “Freedom of Expression” policy. As the interim policy is written, we don’t believe any form of it, including a skinny version of it, will promote free speech more than it will silence students. After the wrongful arrests of students peacefully protesting in Baker University Center last year, it is evident that policy 24.014 is an attempt to prevent a peaceful protest like that from happening again.

While OUCD acknowledges Judge Todd Grace’s suggestion that the university implements a policy that protects both freedom of expression and student’s safety, we find that this policy does more to silence free speech, especially the voices of minority groups, more than anything else.  We are pleased that the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio stands by our side in opposition, stating “colleges and universities may enact reasonable restrictions on when and where students may gather, but this total ban is unjustified and would chill student, staff, and faculty expression.”

While the comment period has come to an end, we feel the need to keep the pressure on to make a decision that is in the best interest of all Bobcats. We ask that you fully rescind the unnecessary policy 24.014, and work with students to create a policy that truly promotes freedom of expression.

Sincerely,

The Ohio University College Democrats

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