Tuesday, September 30, 2008

U of I failed to do its homework

Courtesy of Gil Rodman, here's a link to the landmark United States Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines (1969). It demonstrates quite clearly that the University of Illinois' decision to bar faculty and staff from engaging in campaign speech on campus--including displaying buttons on their shirts and bumper stickers on their cars--is a violation of Constitutional principles. I've excerpted one of the more relevant passages below for those of you who'd prefer the Cliff's Notes version.

TINKER v. DES MOINES SCHOOL DIST., 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

...As we have discussed, the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred. These petitioners merely went about their ordained rounds in school. Their deviation consisted only in wearing on their sleeve a band of black cloth, not more than two inches wide. They wore it to exhibit their disapproval of the Vietnam hostilities and their advocacy of a truce, to make their views known, and, by their example, to influence others to adopt them. They neither interrupted school activities nor sought to intrude in the school affairs or the lives of others. They caused discussion outside of the classrooms, but no interference with work and no disorder. In the circumstances, our Constitution does not permit officials of the State to deny their form of expression.

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