Dear David (pseudonym):
Thanks so much for writing www.DrAdams.org for assistance with your free speech problem. Sadly, you were the fourth college student to write yesterday with a claim that your university is attempting to nullify your speech because it made someone feel “uncomfortable.”
As I understand it, on Friday, September 23, you were asked by the Office of Residential Life to remove a poster you made and later displayed facing the quad at your school in Illinois. At a very liberal school, I know that you constantly have to put up with liberal views and very rarely get to hear a conservative argument in any classroom setting. I am sure you put up the poster expressing your discouragement with the conservative-bashing that you often have to face.
Initially, let me say two things about the poster you printed off your computer, which said “If You Hate America or its Leaders, then Get the Hell Out.”: 1) I would never display such a poster because I think it contributes to inaccurate stereotypes about campus conservatives, and 2) Because I disagree with the content of your speech, I am even more inclined to defend it.
I am also ready to assist you because of the specific reason given by the person who approached you from the Office of Residential Life. I believe they told you someone was “offended” by the poster.
Even though you indicated you are often offended by some of the signs and messages of certain organizations on campus, I am glad you have never asserted a perceived constitutional right to be “un-offended.” That means you have the moral high ground in this case, especially since the representative from the Office of Residence Life informed you that you could be expelled from college if you left the sign up.
Although I am certain the person who complained is simply trying to suppress your views, I am willing to bet that they are, in part, making an issue out of your use of the word “hell.” Of course, I have taken the time to investigate your school and have noticed that “The Vagina Monologues” has been performed on your campus.
Furthermore, I found the following poem in a recent school-sponsored publication:
Sometimes silence is a dragon,
festering, flecked with
pox, manholes from which men,
tipping their hats, emerge, spouting
prophecies in one-word barks—