Wednesday, October 5, 2011

These Are The People In Charge Of Educating The Youth Of America

I posted recently about some current abuses of power by university administrators. Here's a couple more examples.

At the university where I work a student was stopped by the campus police for carrying a skateboard. The use of skateboards is forbidden on campus. God knows why, although no one else does. One would think that the administrators and police have better things to do than worry about students on skateboards, but evidently they don't.

The student wasn't using, riding, or hitting anyone with the skateboard. He was simply carrying it under his arm. After he was rousted by the fuzz he questioned the campus powers-that-be, asking if the police were within their rights to stop him while merely carrying it. The administrative council (a committee comprised of the university equivalent of senior managers - division heads, SVPs, etc.) discussed whether or not the carrying or possession of a skateboard should be prohibited.

Yes, dear readers, this high-powered collection of upper level administrative drones actually spent time discussing the nuances of skateboard possession. The mind boggles. Anyway...

It was decided to leave the rule as written (that is, no use or riding of a skateboard, but no mention of carrying or possessing one), but to caution the student that the police will fine him if he is found to actually use the skateboard on campus.

Of course, this doesn't resolve the problem of other students being detained by the cops for 'open carrying,' even though it's legal (sound familiar, you Second Amendment supporters?).

At the same administrative council meeting the issue of pets on campus was raised. Here's the ruling, handed down in stone tablets.
Live pets of any type are prohibited inside any University facilities, including classrooms, offices or workspaces.
I assume that means dead pets, or stuffed pets like Rowdy of Scrubs fame, are okay.

I wish I was making this up, but honest to God this is real true-life stuff. This is the kind of crap I put up with daily.

On a more serious note, the administrators at another school have decided to interpret the Constitution in their own special way.

Northern Arizona University students who were passing out American flags Friday in remembrance of 9/11 got a bigger response than they expected.
No fewer than four university officials and a police officer descended on the group, accusing them of hindering foot traffic and lacking an advance permit.

(Student Stephanee Freer) videotaped the confrontation, which at various times showed university officials asking the students to go outside, get a permit, or move to the other end of the building where few other students were congregating.

The students handing out flags had originally set up outside the University Union, but spontaneously moved inside after it started raining.

Unlike with outdoor demonstrations, students need to get clearance from the Office of Student Life to hold a small event like this indoors, according to the student handbook.

Freer's video shows the small group -- two or three students -- arguing with four university employees, including an associate dean, who asked them to move.

When the rain started and the students brought their flags, pins and bumper stickers inside, an employee at the nearby information desk approached them to ask if they had filled out the university forms to reserve space.

According to Freer's footage, the first employee to walk up suggested they move outside, to which Freer replied that it was raining.

The second employee, a coordinator from the Office of Student Life, told the students that it is the policy for all student organizations to reserve indoors space, and that they could move outside or step into a booth up the hall.

Freer said that the booth was out of the way and nobody would see them.

"This is for 9/11," she said. "Do you want to shut down our 9/11 table? Are you unpatriotic?"

She also asked the employee what the First Amendment states, and the employee replied, "Free speech in a designated time, place and manner."
The students vocally sneered at the definition.
Good for them. I would too.
After they folded up their small table, not much bigger than a TV dinner tray, a third employee told them the university is within its bounds to regulate the "time, place and manner" where students can assemble.

"You're not following what administration is letting you do," she said.
Oh my aching butt.

The link to the above came from Richard E. Coyote's blog at the Wall Street Journal (way down towards the end). Mr. Coyote added this postscript.
That reminded reader David Schlosser of a story:

"In 2006, I was the Libertarian candidate for Arizona's First Congressional District, running against the soon-to-be-convicted incumbent Republican, Rick Renzi.

I had spent a semester teaching at the Northern Arizona University School of Communication, which was located in a fabulous new building with a stunning entry designated The First Amendment Plaza. The First Amendment was carved into a giant stainless steel sign that overlooked the amphitheater-style entrance to the building. I thought it would be a perfect place for a Libertarian to announce his run for national office, and called the school's director to schedule the space for my kickoff event.

He informed me that political speech is not permitted at The First Amendment Plaza."
Oh delicious irony...


Old NFO said...

Great post Sir, and yes the ironies truly abound on a campus... Sigh

CenTexTim said...

Thank you for the kind words.

Jim - PRS said...

Who knew that skateboards could be contraband (i.e. something, the mere possession of which constitutes an offense)?

This is the same mentality that gets us hundreds of thousands of pages of federal administrative regulations.

CenTexTim said...

I swear I think that a job requirement for bureaucrats is that they undergo a commonsense-ectomy.