Thought Control On Modern American College Campuses

In April of 2009 I designed and printed fliers for the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at a Pittsburgh community college. I included facts such as “The Supreme Court ruled that police have no obligation to protect the people.” These fliers earned me a meeting with the Dean of Student Development, Yvonne Burns, who angrily promised that the club would never be allowed on “her” campus, and ordered me to destroy all related literature.

I had been in a public quad handing out informational pamphlets–and had asked for permission to do so! Dean Burns told me I was soliciting; she had obviously been fed that line by a superior without thinking about it. When I told her that the legal definition of “solicitation” involved trying to sell something, she told me I was trying to “sell an idea.” Wait, isn’t that… college?

The SCCC website,, contains a link to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE;, which recognized the violation of my First Amendment rights and worked with me to restore them — not because it supports gun rights, but because it supports free speech on campus. FIRE throws a wrench into the system of disinforming entire generations of college students — who are treated like children in need of supervision and protection from wayward improper ideas — with one simple tool: publicity. So, even if you hate guns or just don’t like me – please take a moment to look at You’ll be shocked by some of the things that college administrators do when they think no one’s watching. The moral outrage you feel after reading a few cases might inspire you to want to help FIRE restore liberty to our campuses.

As an SCCC campus leader, I welcome opposing points of view. I would love for someone to make me understand how an object can be “bad.” There is a disparity between reality and rationale here. There are signs on my campus reading “drug free weapon free school zone.” Imagine a drug free college campus … then tell me why I should feel safe from “weapons”. Criminals do not follow rules; signs don’t stop them! It’s already illegal to kill someone. Why should it be against the rules to have one specific tool that can do so? Let the college drain the pool, ban sharp pens and pencils, and forbid cars on campus. We’ll all be safer then, right?

Like many of my heroes, I love inspiring people to question their rote dogma; Disinfo favorite RAWilson’s tongue in cheek “guns and dope” political party slogan begins “guns for everyone who wants guns, no guns for anyone who doesn’t” — but too many colleges are more interested in forcing everyone to hum the mantra “guns are bad” without considering the real arguments about them. For me, refusing to buy a gun because you think it will lead to violence makes as much sense as not sending your kid to karate class in hopes that he or she will never get in a fight. I tried to nudge people to question the college’s dogma, even if that questioning only led them to reinforce their existing beliefs, and for that I was treated like a misbehaving child. Thanks to FIRE, my liberty was restored, my club was recognized, and I have new pamphlets which begin “You are an adult entitled to your civil liberties. Please, think for yourself.”

Christa Brashier is a student at CCAC/IUP. She is a self-proclaimed constitutionalist who is currently fighting for free speech as an intern for FIRE. The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

72 Comments on "Thought Control On Modern American College Campuses"

  1. That is quite the most retarded shit I've ever read.

    • another liberal coolaid drinker

      • If liberals weren't rallied against the 2nd Amendment, America would be a more progressive and less plutocratic nation.

        • It isn't about the 2nd Amendment, it's about the 1st. Given the scenario the party involved already had all the necessary permission to do precisely as they did. Moreover, this is about the quashing of “unfriendly” ideas and hypocrisy. Left or right it doesn't matter which, this about a small abuse of power in a microcosm of sorts of the outside world, wherein you have the right to free speech, so long as you don't utilize it.

        • Jdarby007 | Jul 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm |

          i don't honestly think liberals would even know how to hold a fire arm properly let alone figure out how to use it! i carry my .45 in my truck when ever i go anywhere but i never carry it on me when i'm actually walking among the public. i generally make a rule not to goto places where i think i might need it. pretty common sense if you ask me!

          • Connie Dobbs | Aug 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm |

            Yuk yuk yuk! I shot a 237 with the rifle in the USMC (OLD range, obviously, because I am old), out of 250. You only need to shoot like 190, I think. It's been a while since I was serving the honorable President William Jefferson Clinton with the best of my ooh rah hard charging devil dog mad skillz. I'm glad to see you make it a general rule to be a pussy, though.

  2. DeepCough | Jul 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm |

    Hey, if you're gonna bring your 9mm to school, you may as well bring your 20mg prescription with you, too.

  3. In what sense do we cease to be a free country if we don't protect the 2nd amendment? Do you gun nuts really think owning a few pistols is going to stop tyranny? What about the tyrannies we live under now?

    If you bring a pistol to some theoretical battle against the state, the state brings a machine gun. You bring the machine gun, the state brings a tank, and so on and so forth. A gun in your hand doesn't stave off tyrants, a free and educated populace does.

    • Lilbear68 | Jul 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm |

      if you think the common man that is armed has no chance against the military then maybe you should look to afganistan, the taliban seem to be doing very well against our tanks and machine guns and the best military in the world

      • Tuna Ghost | Jul 23, 2010 at 12:02 am |

        They also live in the asshole of the world, it's easy to “hold off” an invading army if you live in the middle of buttfuck nowhere and have no infrastructure to speak of

      • Yeah except they die in droves for every American soldier that they kill. Not to mention that they've been fighting invading countries for hundreds of years, as opposed to college kids, whose idea of fighting is some ridiculous action movie.

    • emperorreagan | Jul 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm |

      I think the disconnect is that one of the intentions of the second amendment was for citizens to own firearms and compose the militia…instead of having a standing army. You could argue that might help stave off tyranny, because every citizen is then actively engaged and having a militia comprised of every citizen certainly makes it much trickier for the government to run off and act contrary to public opinion.

      Guns in and of themselves would be great if there was an overt move to tyranny. So would the ease of access to materials that could be used to make everything from bombs to nerve agents. But nothing has been overt and no one is going to pull the trigger.

      The powerful have done a mighty fine job consolidating more power right under everyone's noses. Everything has been presented as a threat the government must move against…minorities, drugs, terrorism, communism, you name it…and rights are slowly chipped away, more control is exerted, dissent is discouraged, etc. That's where the free and educated populace should have been defending themselves and have failed miserably.

      I personally think it's too late to care and eagerly await the zombie apocalypse in 2012.

      • E.B. Wolf | Jul 22, 2010 at 11:29 pm |

        zombie apocalypse 2012: crossing my fingers!
        …or at least a super virus courtesy of mother Earth.

      • much of the way they did this was through disinformation, miseducation, and thought control… hm… free speech?

      • Shroedinger'sDog | Jul 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

        @everyone – why does it seem like people hear the word gun and then cannot process thought anymore? For or against everyone who read this article's immediate response was to firearms, not the overriding issue of Free Speech. The content of the speech of the individuals featured in this clip could not have been more different. One seemed to be a kid bent on irritating his college so that he could get publicity – and good for him, he achieved that goal. Another was this girl who seemed to be legitimately trying to get people to think about and discuss a real issue – and good for her, she seems to have done that, too. However, if we keep perpetuating the discussion as being fundamentally about guns or mix the two, label it “gun speech” the way people do “hate speech” and dismiss it all as some right wing conspiracy we do a great disservice to society. It seems very brave to stand up for a right so fundamental that most people cannot even recognize it, even when it is staring them in the face, and to respond patiently to even those who disagree with you – I have to give it to these guys… most kids their age would have just shut up and moved on. Actually, most kids their age don't have interests nearly as intellectual as debating about the constitution. So, while discouraging real thought about important issues why don't we add the addendum “Shouldn't you be thinking about booze & fucking at your age?” That seems to be the consensus
        @empororreagan in PA the 2nd amendment (did you know that each state entered the union with their own constitution, and that they differ slightly?) reads “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” which is pretty clear cut – I have the right to defend myself. It isn't enough for me to just point at the constitution and say “Look, there, it says I can” and believe that, though. If we do that for long enough, arguably this has already happened, then the list becomes a bit more like Orwell's animal farm with the Supreme Court acting as the pigs who do something more like reading tea leaves and consulting their own political ideologies to decide cases than actual examination of the rights of the people. The fact of the matter is that criminals want gun control, crime rates rise and the crimes themselves become more brutal in areas with stricter control on the ability of the law abiding citizens to arm themselves. It doesn't effect criminals, who by their very nature do not obey laws. HERE: <– funny but creepy <— funny but creepy <— not funny, real ex cons advocating gun control *21% of violent crimes were committed against someone they know or a friend
        *27% of violent crimes were committed against someone they knew intimately (i.e., spouse, ex spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, and ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend)
        Not only is that broken english, but “someone they knew intimately” is a subclass of “someone they know or a friend”. logically, the subclass cannot be larger than the superclass.

    • this has nothing to do with the reason I want to have guns, I don't believe in the last resort against a tyrannical government – they have way more guns. However,with the bad guys in a one on one a firearm gives us equal footing or an advantage – also it is just an incredibly fun hobby! I don't mean to offend anyone but can someone please tell me, without it being an emotional response with no basis in fact, how an inanimate object can be “bad” even crack never hurt anyone, as it is incapable of lighting itself and jumping into your lungs. If the criminals don't follow the rules then doesn't it follow that the rules against guns only disarm potential victims?

    • we cease to be a free country if we do not protect the 1st amendment rights to free speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion etc. That is the main point of this video and of much of FIRE's cases. The way to let people come to informed conclusions about things is to LET THEM SPEAK. The best example of this is the Holocaust deniers. I am jewish. Let them speak. They say they believe in “Jewish-specific yellow fever” during the years of the nazi death camps and that those camps were actually mass hospitals to care for a disease which was only contagious among people of a certain faith… deny that right and you've created a victim and a martyr… yes, if we let them police our speech we effectively let them control our minds. If we never hear opposing ideas we will nolonger even be able to defend our own

  4. Hadrian999 | Jul 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm |

    this should go funny, predictable places

  5. Wow…. the leaders of tomorrow are the leaders of continuing redneck policies? This isn't an argument about free speech, it's an argument about being allowed to protest the stupid shit ever. If I saw anyone carrying a gun at my University I'd fucking flip and shit my pants, I don't give a care if he has a permit, hell, I dont even KNOW if he has one, how am I supposed to distinguish from Suicide Johnny and Constitutional Right Patrick?. So what's the solution? Bring your own gun? Then a bigger gun? Sounds like the Cold War. Go argue about something productive and not retroactive and honestly…the stupidity…guns on campus? That's unbelievable…

    • Tuna Ghost | Jul 23, 2010 at 1:00 am |

      Well that's the beauty of free speech, everyone is allowed to say the dumbest bullshit they can think of, regardless of its merit or validity. Saying this particular idiot isn't allowed to do so when everyone else in teh country is is technically violating her right. College campuses are strange places legally, though, so who knows what will happen.

    • THe key word here is “see” – as the PA state coordinator for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus I can tell you that 1. there's reason to believe not everyone is going to follow this rule – the Virginia Tech shooter reloaded several times & shot people at point blank range for 45 minutes – a 2 person “shoutout” lasts an average of 10 seconds – “concealed” means you don't see it, not until that pivotal moment where (and I hope it NEVER happens to anyone ever again) you would become very grateful if you did

      • …wait, so this isn't about free speech, but the right to carry a gun? holy hell…i thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that I don't live in the US and have to deal with this 200 year old idiocy. The American society is so focused on guns and having people carry guns, its no wonder their are insane numbers of gun-related violence. Every country has gun violence, but why does the states have so much more? (for a 1st world country that is)

      • Then someone sees a non-officially dressed person shooting at a student/ holding a gun over a dead students body….then he pulls out a gun maybe? Maybe the cops dont know who is killing because the main identifying tool the killer has is also being worn by everyone else. Accidental firings in class? hallways? Stop living in a movie man, you won't be able to draw your gun and shoot accurately when people are dying around and mayhem is ensuing. hell, the chance that youll be there when the shooting is taking place, with a ripe opportunity to shoot is a pipe dream.

        • This is actually listed under “common arguments” on the SCCC website as it is a very stereotypical and uninformed reaction to this idea.… or if you're too lazy to follow a link: This hasn't been an issue with concealed handgun license holders in other walks of life for several reasons. First and foremost, real-world shootouts are typically localized and over very quickly. It's not realistic to expect police to encounter an ongoing shootout between assailants and armed civilians. Second, police are trained to expect both armed bad guys AND armed good guys—from off-duty/undercover police officers to armed civilians—in tactical scenarios. Third, concealed handgun license holders are trained to use their firearms for self-defense. They are not trained to run through buildings looking for bad guys. Therefore, the biggest distinction between the armed assailants and the armed civilians is that the armed civilians would be hiding with the crowd, and the armed assailants would be shooting at the crowd.

        • Chemicalskies | Jul 26, 2010 at 11:01 am |

          It isn't a pipe dream, it is a nightmare. I am not some vigilante looking for the bad guys. I want the opportunity to defend myself in an emergency. I will not go looking for the campus shooter if something like VT happened, but if I am in the room I will be disarmed and therefore incapable of protecting myself when I could have a fighting chance

    • Groovyman | Jul 24, 2010 at 7:17 am |

      This is the gist of the anti-gun argument: elitism.

      Guns somehow offend your sensibilities because you associate them with what you perceive to be a lower class or the right wing. Since, in your mind, the right wing / moderate right libertarians are idiots (a conclusion borne of your arrogance and failure of your first principals), then guns must be bad because they are championed by these people.

      I don't think you have a problem with guns, per se. I think that, like most rationally self-interested people, you would use one to defend your life without hesitation. However, I think that you feel uncomfortable extending that same privilege to others because you and an arrogant twat.

      I think you have a problem with your political opponents and “untermensch” having guns. After all, the only type of person that can be trusted is a progressive, socially aware, liberal, right?

      You don't like guns? Don't own them. You don't like the idea of carrying a gun? Don't carry one.

      Your personal dislikes are no basis for abridging my freedom. After all, there are only two states that don't issue permits for concealed carry at all (and shockingly, one of them isn't California!).

      • Connie Dobbs | Aug 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm |

        “This is the gist of the anti-gun argument: elitism. “

        Nothing says elitism more than “I COULD SHOOT YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE IF I WANTED TO, RIGHT NOW”

  6. hmm.

  7. Tuna Ghost | Jul 23, 2010 at 12:57 am |

    The stupidest bits n' pieces:

    “It’s already illegal to kill someone. Why should it be against the rules to have one specific tool that can do so? Let the college drain the pool, ban sharp pens and pencils, and forbid cars on campus. We’ll all be safer then, right?”

    That first sentence just slays me every time I read it. Listen kid, banning pens and pencils and cars and swimming pools would actually make the campus much safer, but also much more inconvenient. Banning guns only makes it more inconvenient for you to accidentally (or purposefully) shoot yourself or someone else. You cannot equate guns with cars or swimming pools, despite the fact that all those things are potentially deadly–a gun is a tool, yes, but it is a tool used to kill people and for pretty much nothing else. Comparing it to a swimming pool is just ridiculous.

    “I included facts such as 'The Supreme Court ruled that police have no obligation to protect the people'.”

    Wow, and she still didn't think you deserved to be taken seriously? Crazy!

    Regarding the war on ideas, it is a mistake to think that everyone is entitled to freedom from thought manipulation–parents do it to children all the time and teachers do it to students. Call it taking away freedom of choice if you must, but taking away the choice of wether or not to drink anti-freeze ensures that one will have any choices to make in the future.

    Re: free speech, I think you're in the clear in this area. I don't think the dean has a legal leg to stand on, and it is quite common for educators to assume that the standard authoritarian stance will dissuade people from fighting back. I can't blame her though, I'm quite sure I would do some dirty underhanded shit to keep guns out of the hands of idiots on my school as well.

    • Just Google: The Supreme Court ruled that police have no obligation to protect the people

      Investigate and solve crimes that have been committed yes. Prevent them from happening, no. How could they? Note: It is a legal obligation we're talking about.

      In the 1st instance it's up to you to protect yourself. How you do that is up to you.

    • 1, You're entitled to that opinion. I am a small girl attending night classes in a bad area: I happen to have first hand belief in self defense

      2. The supreme court has repeatedly ruled that police have no duty to protect citizens See:… & follow links to the many other supreme court precedents on which this most recent case was based

      Free speech: only because I was on a public campus – other students have not been so lucky

      Tuna Ghost – awesome handle

      • Tunaghost | Aug 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm |

        That was a polite enough reply that I feel bad for being a jerk.

        • That's okay. It's an issue that elicits an emotional response from people, I'm used to it. I'm grateful that you read the article and bothered to think about it & think it takes a lot of courage to retract harshness of any kind. People often back themselves into a corner where their only recourse is to get harsher and harsher – something that is neither good for the topic at hand nor for the people involved. Cheers!

      • Tunaghost | Aug 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm |

        (being sincere, I always back down in the face of politeness. Please excuse the tone of my earlier post, it was a long day)

    • anti-fundy | Jul 28, 2010 at 11:42 am |

      First off, do you realize that what you've said is “I disagree with her, so I agree that she must be silenced. Here is why I disagree with her.” then provided faulty logic with nothing to back you up? Disinfo should be ashamed of you in much the same way I feel that the devil would be ashamed of satanists. You condemn what you do not know because you do not know it. Are you a fundamentalist or something?

      Also – shooting is 1. part of more than one olympic sport (Rapid Fire Pistol, Sport Pistol, Free Pistol, Trap, Skeet, Biathalon, etc.) 2. a fun hobby (one the majority of Americans participate in) 3. taught & competed in on many campuses 4. a means of self defense – as such, it can not only be equated to swimming, but seems to serve much more of a purpose than a swimming pool. When is the last time swimming saved someone's life? Skill with a firearm does it all the time. Here is an example: (In CA, arguably the most anti-gun state!)… Try not to chime in as an expert on something you obviously have no knowledge about. Go to a shooting range and learn about firearms and firearm safety, research the topic as regards American college campuses (for example in 2007 Utah made it illegal for state colleges to forbid the carry of firearms – there have since been no “incidents” and the crime rate surrounding these campuses has dropped dramatically) or else preface your opinion with the fact that it is such (and poorly constructed at that) – Condemnum quod non intelligunt – I probably wouldn't have agreed with this article if it weren't for the blatantly illogical statements utterly devoid of reason that I see cropping up in response to it… Well, for me it is easier to disagree with a poor argument than to agree with a good one, perhaps It's in my nature. Are you aware of how ignorant you sound? You sound like someone who recites the rote ideology of the masses at the expense of legitimate thought.. oh right, I said that already. You're a fundamentalist.

      • Tunaghost | Aug 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm |

        I was taking you seriously up to “When is the last time swimming saved someone's life?”. You almost had me going there for a minute, buddy!

        • Haha! I think he still has some valid points, albeit in a harsher than necessary tone (and with comepletely uneccessary insults to religious) but hey, free speech! Anyway, he probably frustrated himself into that mistake without realizing it. Everyone gets worked up about this topic and that becomes their undoing in conversation. We need to learn how to discuss this in a rational way so that we can reach well thought out conclusions.

          My brother, who is the guy entering the shoot house in the beginning of my segment of the video, often makes the point that shooting is a fun sport to teach his son & that he takes comfort in knowing that it may possibly save his life some day. Soccer on the other hand, not so much – baseball maybe. Also, children raised around firearms tend to have more self control and respect… I read a study about that somewhere. It makes sense. I'm sure the same is true of children raised to do martial arts, ballet, etc.

  8. Christa's Mom | Jul 23, 2010 at 3:09 am |

    What a stupid, alarmist headline as well. Thought Control On Modern American College Campuses. For one, this story involves ONE campus. Two, thought control?? Sounds like you're going to discuss some really ominous shit and it just ends up that you're dealing with some chickenshit school administrators. It's not like MK-Ultra. Shame on you Christa Brashier.

    • This story alone involves 3 campuses, there are several more cases like that and many more at FIREs website that involve thought control.. like “cultural reeducation” programs at the University of Delaware… trust me, watch FIRE & google”Thought Reform 101″ a short and great article written by one of FIRE's cofounders

      • A positive light would be using them responsibly somewhere other than your classroom. Toting them around like an upgraded rape whistle isn't positive…it's reckless and contributes to an atmosphere of potential death and mayhem where people want it least. Use your weapons responsibly…at home, hunting or on the target range…but get yourself some mace and take a class in self defense…because no one can steal your arms and legs and kill other people with them (unless they're incredibly strong and unusually determined.)

        • I absolutely agree with personal responsibility, but fail to understand how having them on a campus negates that. I think that posting signs saying that no one is armed is irresponsible. There are plenty of facts, figures, surveys, and interviews to back up the idea that criminals want unarmed victims and that crime rates lower when there is less “gun control” Retention training is important if you are going to open carry (keeping someone from getting your gun off of you) it is not so important with concealed carry, since no one knows that I am armed unless I draw my firearm, by which time I will have already decided to use it. There are also retention holsters, which I don't like much. You have to learn to use a firearm just as you do a car, and have the same reasonable expectations for it. I don't see why people think this particular item will lead to less responsible behavior – especially not when the licensure adds the threat of it being taken off of you to doing anything else problematic. I don't even want to exceed the speed limit if I'm armed. I most certainly do not want to wind up in any conflict with anyone. Why don't you take a class or two from the Firearms Instruction Research and Education Institute or just a trip to a local range and learn a thing or two about handling a firearm. You might surprise yourself.

          • Trained in their responsible use: age 12. Remain a fan of ownership, home defense, and sport use to this day.

            But with a family full of military veterans and lifetime gun users…not one of us supports open carry on campuses. Why…because we also don't belong to NRA. Despite biased studies manufactured to improve sales, its still true that just arming everyone does not solve problems…its a form of response to a failure to deal with crime right the first time. It's a cop out.

          • Chemicalskies | Aug 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm |

            Where is the O in SCCC?

        • Funny you should say that. Dean Burns recommended mace as well. That would also be against the weapons policy.

          It seems to be impossible for people to see a discussion on free speech and not equate the issue with the topic around which the speech was centered. How about this one: to illustrate my point I had asked the dean “What if I were handing out voter registration forms?” and she replied that no, that would also not be allowed on campus.

          Yes, yes it would.

    • oh, also – I didn't write the title & you are not my mom… my mom is quite proud of me for refusing to back down while facing the threat of expulsion when I knew I was not doing anything wrong. Seriously, read Alan Kors' article Thought Reform 101 &/or the Shadow University and/or any of the cases on FIRE's website… there is legit thought reform going on. Here they didn't want students to think of firearms in a positive light.

  9. I love guns…but I don't strap them on for public journeys like a fake cock to salvage my ego…because I don't need to. I deeply pity the cockless manbitches that cannot survive even minutes in public without their second phallus at close reach.

    • Absolutely

    • You're the master of appeals to ridicule on this site.

      • Not a bad thing to be, really. Voltaire would approve, I'm sure…

        …and it beats the hell out of simply being ridiculous…a honor you bestow upon yourself regularly.

    • Empty00eyes | Aug 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm |

      I can only speak for myself, but I really don't view carrying a firearm as such. Why shouldn't we openly exercise our right to self defense? If 1 out of 10 people open carried, I imagine the world would be a safer place.

      • The right to bear arms is specifically linked to the continental army. In that case during the revolutionary war, british parliament could have passed laws banning the use of firearms by colonists. If that were passed and carried out this would have severed the continental army from it's very purpose, which was to defend the colonies from the “tyranny” of british rule. The right to bear arms therefore is linked to this, just as the separation of church and state is linked to the arguments used by John Locke in the Second Treatise of Government. Concealment is a new “technology” that did not exist during the writing of the constitution. Often the right to bear arms is stopped at that, as if it were the whole sentence, but like most of the constitution there are many more words directly linked through grammatical techniques (coincidentally grammar and linguistics have very little to do with each other). It is linked with the right of the people to rise up and protect themselves against a tyrannical government, not to protect oneself from other citizens. The state is supposed to protect citizens from each other, we are supposed to use the second amendment to protect ourselves from the state, be it a foreign power or if our own state reached a point of a tyrannical abuse of powers.

    • wow so you really think that's what self defense is about? Think of the point being made it could have saved 1 or 2 people or maybe 20. Also to get a concealed weapons permit you need 2 have never been tried of a serious crime. Thus making it a lot safer in general as they have proven to be rational at least as far as the law is concerned.

  10. justagirl | Jul 23, 2010 at 9:05 am |

    my experience with the assistant dean enlightened me to the fact that there are icy, menacing people in powerful positions trying to discourage students from graduating. it will only make my degree that much sweeter. don't give up.

  11. I'm completely behind your first amendment rights, but get used to people with power trying to intimidate you into silence. In the bigger picture, college campuses are pretty free, in part because their students are essentially their customers, and in part because their academic prestige depends upon valuing free thought.

    When you leave college, it only gets worse. You're dealing with real police, rather than campus security, who don't care about pissing off your parents; or with corporations who are under no obligation to value your personal freedom on their dime, and have no bones about trying to control your personal life, too. The truth is, society in general doesn't value free speech, and this is just a first taste of what is to come if you continue to think for yourself.

    What I've found is that its best to ridicule power, rather than to express outrage at being censored or oppressed, per se. The effect of your article is to make people feel powerless and outraged…emotions which tend to encourage apathy more often than action. Consider a slightly different spin…your movement is “gathering enough momentum to prompt fearful and pathetic attempts at censorship from campus administrators,” or something along those lines. *g* Place your reader in the position there they feel invited to particulate in the winning side, and hopefully place the dean in a position where s/he is up against more students than the college can afford to expel.

    • So in your thought It would be my right to promote that the Jews created the Holocaust and that it never happened? Because it's what I think and I'm a Uni student with the right to do so? No. I'm not allowed to spread clear idiocy. A campus isn't a special free speech zone, it's the same everywhere. You say carry guns into schools in a park, campus, or Denny's, I'm still calling you an idiot.

      • Absolutely! I hate it when the silence holocaust deniers. I'm Jewish. The best way to deal with this disagreement is to let everyone speak. I find it especially amusing when holocaust deniers claim that the death toll was due to “jewish-specific yellow fever” during WWII. Silencing someone makes them a victim, letting them speak leads to dialog and social consequences. Look up the march of the American Nazi party through Skokie – here's a starting link

        I propose freedom of speech – yes, even the speech that we hate. Sorry it's 120 degrees right now and I'm melting… or I'd have even more to say on this, one of my favorite topics.

        Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to silence them. In fact I sent a thank you note to my dean, she opened so many doors just by trying to close one – but then, I knew who to call. I recommend knowing who to call. The media, in 1st amendment cases, is always going to be your friend.

      • Yes, I'm saying that people have the right to spread pure idiocy. I also find your comment to be idiotic.

        • Haystack – that's your right & I will defend it. However, I find your comment to lack substance. While I invite disagreement, saying “I just think this is stupid” gives no one any real insight or ability to learn anything. I might learn from legitimate disagreement. No one learns anything from silencing an idea or just claiming it is stupid.

    • I hope no one reads my article and feels powerless. I essentially agree with everything that you've said except the basic premise that campuses are remaining as free as their goal of education should demand. If you go to & look at some of the cases – look up your college, or read about the U of Delaware case, or a recent case at random, or the speech code of the month – you will see an alarming rise in censorship on campus, not a decrease, and not a stagnation. One college even banned the president of FIRE from coming to give a speech about free speech, it's getting ridiculous.

      We only have the freedom we demand – the purpose of this article and video is to help focus attention and hope that there is a demand for liberty. Many colleges have more administrators than professoriate at this point. The need for those people to justify their cushy jobs has meant that education is taking a second rung to social policies. That's unacceptable, and we need to keep an eye out to see that it stops rather than spreading further.

      The law itself has become so convoluted and insane… I never meant to imply that this had anything to do with life outside of college. I wanted to discuss and debate a currently important issue. I was told to destroy my literature and cease speaking about it. That's not meant to upset anyone, it's just what happened. It is happening more and more. It shouldn't be viewed as acceptable or “not that bad” since we shouldn't be letting our tax dollars fund flagrant violations of free speech, regardless of whether you agree on the gun issue. Disagreement is something I welcome, quieting dissent is not.

      • I never meant to imply that “campuses are remaining as free as their goal of education should demand.” We should always demand better. I just see it as a symptomatic of the fact that society in general does not value free expression as much as it should.

        • Well, this is something FIRE is here to help us solve. We can, too, if we remain educated and actually try to solve it. I've gotten 3 policies at my college changed since getting involved with FIRE which substantially restricted freedom of speech – meanwhile 2 students had tried to start an SCCC chapter on my campus before I arrived were turned down as they attempted to do with me.

          I just want to spread the word about FIRE so that more students know that if their speech is silenced, their grades affected by their opinions, religious views are foisted upon them etc. etc. there is help. It is easy to win with the kind of help FIRE provides, and they do most of it with publicity. The press does NOT like to hear about violations of 1st amendment rights. If need be they will hire you an attorney. FIRE wants to solve this problem and put themselves out of business. I wouldn't have believed that were true if I hadn't worked with them for so long.

      • Earbudcontender | Aug 4, 2010 at 4:09 am |

        Want to think for yourself? Don't go to college, in a school mentality (meme) everyone in the organization is supposed to think and act as one and the powers, that be that you pay give you things to think about, so you don't have the risk of becoming frustrated searching for the right things to think about. The reason these things happen is that most people attend college so they can make sure they have enough money to survive and gain material goods, not for the sole reason of becoming an universal mind and brilliant versed in many subjects as a hobby or life goal. College is about learning a skill to make money and the procedures that allow that call for censorship and a narrowing of ideas to specialize the little human robot to make money in an specific task, and compete in the gold rush for services, commodities and luxuries that is the life of most. One can be opulent does not have to involve being filthy rich but efficient in life and handling day to day tasks, but I digress. I like technical colleges and people learning awesome skill but I find a business degree is futile. Want to think for yourself? Don't join a school, the school has a mind of its own and you will just be assimilated into it for the rest of your life. Pick the books you want to read and don't want to read and go get a degree if you want to be part of a corporation to gain access to their resources and make money their way. Does not take a genius to survive but it does take one to thrive.

    • >college campuses are pretty free, in part because their students are essentially their customers, and in part because their academic prestige depends upon valuing free thought.

      You've never disagreed with a professor, have you? I mean, really and truly challenged errors or omissions in the curriculum, and refused to back down? You'll learn very quickly how illiberal most “liberal” professors truly are.

      • DownAndOut | Aug 3, 2010 at 9:47 am |

        Good teachers welcome disagreement, because it shows that a student is listening and actually thinking about the curriculum.

        However, if you're challenging the curriculum itself, rather than the material and ideas presented to you (i.e. “Why are we studying X but not Y?”) , then you're wasting everyone's time. Honestly, no one takes college courses to admire how broadly knowledgeable you think you are, and arguing with the instructor over minutiae rather than substance is juvenile. If you have ideas that you want to introduce, challenging the professor's authority and choice in materials is probably not the best way to go about it.

        • I wasn't challenging any curriculum/professor/course/educational content/field – I was challenging an administrative ban on “weapons” on campus. That is what made it so preposterous for the college to threaten me with “academic misconduct.” Also, I wasn't even directly challenging the administration. I was merely opening a dialogue with other students about how I believed the administrative policy was a mistake. A dean of “student life”, with no relation to academic affairs of any kind, tried to stop me from doing that. I don't think you watched the video.

          And… really? What about places that have an office of “gender equality” which promotes “women's studies” who never include a “men's studies” program. Many students are beginning to make the case that this measure, originally created from Title IX with the intention of leveling the playing field for women entering academics, is outdated and nolonger reasonable. After all there are now more women in college than men. Men are the minority in academics. “Gender equality” implies that both would be treated, well, equally – right? If we do not challenge ideas we will never progress, and even the ideas we hold as truths will stagnate into meaningless dogma.

          We get the word academy from Plato who created the first school of philosophical thought because, even as a devoted student of Socrates, he disagreed with his teaching methods and wanted a place for philosophical thought where dissenting opinions were given equal credence. This is the origin of “higher education” – if that was a waste of time, then we ought to abolish academics altogether. Aristotle was educated at the first Academy. He then disagreed with the content being discussed at the Academy leading to the founding of the second school of philosophy. PhD stands for “Philosophical Doctorate”

  12. It isn't about the 2nd Amendment, it's about the 1st. Given the scenario the party involved already had all the necessary permission to do precisely as they did. Moreover, this is about the quashing of “unfriendly” ideas and hypocrisy. Left or right it doesn't matter which, this about a small abuse of power in a microcosm of sorts of the outside world, wherein you have the right to free speech, so long as you don't utilize it.

  13. After reading and re-reading this, plus the comments below this, a couple of times, I remain unsure as to what precisely can be done about these issues, without massively infringing on the rights of others, or engaging in what they perceive as an infringement on their rights.
    Frankly, human beings, especially young people, are often a contentious bunch, and that's why rules and regulations exist, even in small, relatively homogenous ones like families and clans.
    That leads to the problem of who gets to set and enforce them, and who is bound by them.
    Now, one could argue that universities, colleges and other academic institutions, in order to provide a safe and secure learning and working environment for their students and employees need to make and enforce rules and regulations and to enforce them as vigourously as possible, including punishing those who transgress them.
    The problem with that ends up being, how many rules and regulations does one make, and what sort of punishments for transgressors does one make and enforce? One could conceivably create a set of them for an academic institution that would take the old doctrine of “In loco parentis” to ridiculous extremes, and prohibit, say, any sort of associations between young men and women, gatherings, public or private, and the possession of all items deemed not to be in the best health, safety, financial and legal interests of the particular academic institution and its students and employees by those running it.
    Now, this could even potentially mean, if taken far enough, a pre-selection of, and prohibition on the presence of, students of various origins and backgrounds whose presence on a university, college or other academic institution's campus could be seen as being a potential threat to the health, safety and security of those already there.
    So, for instance, a historically and predominantly African-American academic institution could potentially prohibit any European-American, Asian-American, Latino, or other non-African-American student from attending it, or any non African-American from working as an employee in any capacity there.
    Under current legal guidelines, one could potentially get away with such an exclusion policy, as long as it received nothing in the way of Federal money, which would then mean that the institution must comply with all Federal rules and regulations regarding these issues, and that would put an end to that.
    Likewise, while universities have often traditionally regarded themselves as a “marketplace of ideas”, I do not know if community colleges, which are a relatively new form of academic institution, trade or technical schools have done so, nor if whether any of those institutions, as well as universities, could or would, outside of the First Amendment or its associated protections under Federal and state laws, have that recognised in court.
    Arguments can, and have been, made that the presence of ideas on a campus, such as the advocacy of concealed-carry weapons' rights, Holocaust denial, European-American, African-American or other forms of racially-based nationalism or racial and ethnic separation, Marxist-Leninist, Anarchist or Green Left doctrines, etc, are and would be, by their very nature, guaranteed to cause undue and unnecessary division and disorder among students, academics and other employees of an academic institution, and, in the basis of maintaining a safe and orderly scholastic and working environment, be banned, so as to ensure that environment.
    The same could be said for the possession of any form of weaponry, drugs, alcohol or other substances, or texts like political pamphlets or books, that, by their very presence and use on those campuses, pose the same potential threat.
    While the old legal doctrine of “In loco parentis”, meaning that universities and other academic institutions have the right and duty to act in the place of parents or guardians was struck down in the 1960's or '70's(I think), there are perhaps other arguments that could be made, involving the categories I mentioned above, that can be, and are being used, by academic institutions of all types to protect themselves and their employees from potential disruption and disorder, and, most importantly, from the legal and financial fall-out that comes with such events. As the latter cost both considerable time, trouble and money, not to mention cause considerable embarrassment and bring unwanted scrutiny from outsiders, I think that one can well see where the latter two would be, and are, prime considerations for academic institutions.
    As for carrying concealed weapons, whether pistols(rather hard to generally conceal a rifle, shot-gun or sub-machine gun, I should think), knives or other small, personal hand weapons on an academic campus, one can make the argument that one has the right to carry, and, if need be, use them in self-defence. However, to make the assumption that every one of those carrying such items about, whether trained in their safe and legal use or not, is going to use them exclusively in that manner is making a grave logical error, I think.
    It's far too easy, particularly when one has been drinking or using drugs, or is trying to make a considerable, positive impression with one's peers, to show off a bit, or, even if the person or persons involved aren't drunk, high, or so needy and insecure as to do that, but who may have, due to problems at home, with one's dorm or roommates, with other students or colleagues on- or off-campus, or long-standing emotional problems, political, ideological or other forms of inter-personal feuds with others, or in the heat of particularly nasty disagreements or fights with others, to resort to pulling out a weapon, and, by using it, temporarily end it.
    The reason I said “temporarily” is because there are a whole range of new problems that come from using physical violence to end arguments, disputes or even in self-defence or defence of others, whether legally or otherwise.
    Among those are the very real potential for someone who's either related to, or a close friend of, the person killed or injured in an incident in which a pistol or other weapon was used, to come seeking revenge for that death or injury, and, at the very least, attempt getting it on the person whom they blame, rightly or wrongly, for infilcting it.

    Some might say that such incidents are either things of the past in this country, are restricted to benighted backwaters like Albania or Somalia, or are confined to the inner cities of the US. Perhaps so. However, the desire for revenge on those whom one has been either injured by, or who have injured or killed those to whom one's close, is far from exclusive to those areas, and social classes.

    Various cultures, including the ones have mentioned above, have, over the course of modern humanity's history, worked out various ways of arbitrating and settling disputes between others, some more successfully than others, I think. In Albania and many other parts of Europe, where law enforcement was either non-existent, or weak, biased and heavily corrupt, when and where it existed, the institution of the blood feud, in which a slight, wrong or injustice by one man against another was to be punished by a feud between the families of those involved until either a settlement between them could be negotiated or the wrong-doer was killed by a member of the victim's family, came about as such a means. The problem with its use was that families often ended up locked into generations of inter-familial feuds, in which the death of one man was avenged by the death of another, which then lead to still more deaths over the years. Women, children and elderly men were exempted from this, in the older understandings of the rules behind this. However, in post-Communist Albania, these exemptions often are no longer followed in many cases. This ends up creating a situation in which families locked into these feuds often daren't come outside of their family compounds for fear of being gunned down by those with whom their family is “in blood”, or feuding. I don't think it takes much of a stretch of the imagination to see where that ends up causing social, economic and other forms of life to end up being very restricted, if not coming to a complete stand-still, in some cases.

    In US inner-city neighbourhoods afflicted by gang and other forms of inter-personal violence, where members of one gang go after and kill those belonging to a rival gang over territorial disputes, the deaths of other fellow gang members and the like, as well the simple revenging of inter-personal grudges or slurs on one's name, one can see the fear generated by such actions, and the social costs they leave on the individual members of those communities, and on those communities as a whole.

    Even vigiliantism leaves such traces.

    The problems as have outlined them above can end up resulting in either one form of repression or another by academic, governmental and other authorities, or in another by individuals or unofficial groups through their use of violence to enforce their wills on others.

    One of the great failures of our society, I think, is that the use of violence in its various forms, and by individuals and groups, official and unofficial, has been, and remains, one of our culture's default settings, if you will. Duelling, from which Western gun-fighting emerged in the late 19th Century, vigilantilism, feuding and lynching were very much a part of our heritage from the Colonial Era on, and while many of those practises have generally gone, violence and threats of it are common as dirt in many parts of American culture and life, especially rhetorically.

    Whether in the calls for an armed revolution from segments of the Right or Left, calls for “law-and-order” police repression of law-breakers and other assorted “scum”(depending on who's doing the calling, and whom they see as scum), or other such forms of rhetoric, and, in some cases, action, the wish and will to make someone good and dead is present at all levels of our culture, and has been throughout our history. This isn't an exclusively US phenomenon, by any means. But, it is one of our major failings as a people and culture.

    What the dean told you, Christa, was wrong and it was wrong of her to do so. Good on you for standing up for yourself, and having others committed enough to stand with you.

    However, neither repression of the type attempted against you and your group, nor untrammeled freedom of everyone and anyone to do, say, possess or carry on their persons whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like it, are going to solve either this dispute, nor the underlying social, cultural, political or economic problems we have, and have had for a long time now.

    Both are forms of political and social infantilism that do no good, really.

    That's it for me.

  14. why would you want to bring a gun to campus in the first place? it's the most twisted idea. this video emphasizes on freedom of speech for students but what freedom of speech is there left in a university where some students carry guns… and if the answer to that question is that the guns aren't to be used or to intimidate then why do you even want to bring guns to campus.

  15. Jahnlambert | Aug 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm |

    The new world the we live in today is a precarious and often random existence…there is no definitive way of finding a comfortable median between two opposing viewpoints. I am not a college educated person, although I do possess a degree of intelligence…the one thing I think that is being over looked here is the constitutional right to bear arms. These are the principles that this country was founded on. And these principles have served us well in our darkest hours. Forgetting the men and women who fought and died for these rights is a travesty. Every human being has a right to protect themselves no matter where they are, and as long as the individual is in compliance with state and federal laws..that being said…what is the issue we're really discussing here? It sounds to me like someones opinion (Yvonne Burns) is taking precedence over the foundations that have kept us the strongest nation in world.

  16. Firefly7975 | Aug 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm |

    Really? You think that having more guns around on campus is a good idea? Moronic. It's a school. The only people who should have firearms on school property is police officers. A bunch of 20 somethings running around with guns can only spell trouble. Especially on college campuses, where partying is frequent, and things can get out of hand. If everyone has guns, everyone is more likely to use them, and what started as a fist fight can turn into a gun fight pretty quickly. Ultimately this article sounds empty and foolish, like the preachings of someone who has not considered an issue from any perspective but their own. I like guns, but I believe that they have their place, and that place is not in the hands of misguided children.

  17. wow so you really think that’s what self defense is about? Think of the point being made it could have saved 1 or 2 people or maybe 20. Also to get a concealed weapons permit you need 2 have never been tried of a serious crime. Thus making it a lot safer in general as they have proven to be rational at least as far as the law is concerned.

Comments are closed.