In 1985, NIU and other universities across the nation chose a location on campus where students could meet and set up protests. The MLK Commons area outside the Holmes Student Center was the location designated NIU’s first “free-speech zone.” When Vice President Dick Cheney visited NIU Sept. 18, a small area was designated outside the Convocation Center for protest.(Isn't that special? I was in Semmering the weekend of Speaker Hastert's fundraiser, but bet there was some carping in high university circles about the use of the Convocation Center for such, well, Republican, purposes. On the other hand, the Speaker has been generous to the University ...)
I am going to have to send another missive to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. 'Twould be a shame for the hottest public college in Illinois (and jousting with Northwestern ... Northwestern?? ... for football bragging rights in the state) to persist in this folly of limiting free speech to small areas, even if, at the moment, the protestors appear to be the usual crop of Sixties wannabes:
Marissa McGrath, a representative for the Women’s Alliance, said this protest shows students here can handle free speech and should be allowed to advocate it freely.I mean, c'mon, there are more female students than male students on campus, and on average they get better grades and graduate more rapidly. And those non-negotiable demands? Those are so 1965. Do you really want to antagonise people who might be inclined to agree with you?
“Freedom of speech is important to everyone, especially women, due to issues of inequality,” McGrath said.
Mike Banghart, a member of the Labor Rights Alliance, said that this was the first step in this campaign to show student approval and to give hard evidence supporting this fact.
“We are prepared to escalate the campaign further if action is not made to end the free-speech zones,” Banghart said.