Last week, four students at Southern Oregon University were told by administrators that they must stop handing out copies of the United States Constitution on campus, or else the Police would be called, and disciplinary action would taken against them.
The administrators confronted the students, who were affiliated with Students for Concealed Carry, and reprimanded them, due to the fact that they were handing out literature, in an area that was outside of the university’s designated “Free Speech Zone.”
Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a nonpartisan student organization that promotes students’ rights to carry concealed weapons on campus. One member of the group, Stephanie Keaveney, told Campus Reform that administrators alleged that the four representatives from SCC had caused an “immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.”
“We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” Keaveney said.
The university’s family housing coordinator, Allyson Beck, was the first one to confront the students, who were handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution near an on-campus residence hall.
“We have our free speech zone,” said Beck. “I understand that you may not like it, but that’s where it is.”
The director of university housing, Tim Robitz, also approached the students. “I would very much like you to leave,” said Robitz. “If you would, please, because the students have the right to be able to come by here without you guys, you know, invading their space and asking them to do something.”
“Thank you for coming down here and explaining to us the unconstitutional policies here on campus, but we’re not going to move,” said one of the students from SCC.
Campus Reform reported that even though, as one student claimed, some of the administrators resorted to “personal attacks” and threatened disciplinary action, the students refused to leave, and the administrators eventually left them alone.
Although campus police claimed they had received a complaint from a student who said he felt “uncomfortable,” they did not ultimately confront the students. The members of SCC insisted that they had not heard any complaints.
“Students on this campus were in no way framing themselves to be a legitimate threat to safety or inciting unlawful behavior,” said Keaveney. “This action was only related to SCC in that its members on this campus believe in order to fight for our second amendment rights; we must first be free to exercise our first amendment rights.”
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