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*** UPDATED x1 - ACLU responds *** SIU bans “activism” during events by athletes, cheerleaders

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018

* Daily Egyptian, October 4, 2017

While a crowd of 9,112 fans removed their hats and stood at attention for the National Anthem prior to last Saturday’s SIU vs. UNI showdown in Saluki Stadium, three Saluki cheerleaders used the public stage to take a knee in protest.

Sophomore cheerleaders Czarina Tinker, Ariahn Hunt and Alaysia Brandy were unsure of how the rest of the squad would react to their intent to kneel during the anthem, so they decided not to share their plans. […]

“It’s not a protest against the flag. It’s not a protest against Donald Trump,” the Chicago native said. “It was a protest for our civil rights that we are still fighting for, that we have been fighting for, for hundreds of years and we’re not getting any justice.”

Thereafter, the university did whatever it could to prevent the DE photographers from taking pictures of the cheerleaders, who were stationed in a tunnel during the anthem. All three cheerleaders are African-Americans.

* The cheerleaders were physically threatened

Brandy, who is studying biological sciences and is also from Chicago, agreed that while some people have expressed support, many of the responses have been unsettling.

“These people know our faces and names now. And we’re getting death threats and sexual assault threats, and being called the N-word so many times,” Brandy said.

* This January

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Carbondale honored three SIU cheerleaders at the 36th Annual MLK Breakfast.

At the breakfast three sophomore cheerleaders Ariahn Hunt, Alaysia Brandy and Czarina Tinker were recognized for kneeling during the national anthem at the athletic events in order to protest against racial oppression. […]

Dr. Linda Flowers, NAACP Carbondale Branch president, said “They are college students whose courage transcends cheerleading. They have risked their safety, dare I say their cheerleading careers, to protest violence and injustices to African Americans.” […]

“The three young ladies were recognized for their courage in standing up for what they believe in,” [Vice Chancellor Lori Stettler] said. “That is foundational to everything we believe in as a society and as an institution.”

Stettler apparently wasn’t on the same page as campus leadership, however.

* The campus has a new policy

SIU Athletics administration has also added new language to the Code of Conduct policy that states any displays of activism will not be tolerated and could lead to the individual’s removal from their respective program.

“It is a privilege and not a right to be a student-athlete, cheerleader or spirit member at Southern Illinois University,” according to the addition provided by Liz Jarnigan, SIU Athletics senior woman administrator.

“Members of the department including student athletes cheerleaders and spirit members must remain neutral on any issue political in nature when wearing SIU official uniforms and when competing/performing in official department of athletics events and activities,” according to the addition provided to the Daily Egyptian. “Any display (verbal or non-verbal) of activism (either for or against) a political issue will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the program.” […]

“We have this policy because we’re wanting to put forward a message of unity and by taking sides or offending one side or the other… that’s not what we believe [is our] purpose,” Jarnigan said.

Brandy said she will no longer be taking a knee during the anthem and her decision to do so was made before the changes from the administration.

Two of the three women are not returning to SIUC this fall.

Thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** Ed Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy, ACLU of Illinois…

Southern Illinois University’s new policy suggesting that players or cheerleaders could be removed from their respective program for peaceful ‘displays of activism’ falls short of the critical responsibility of a public university to honor and protect free speech rights for their students. It is more troubling that the policy specifically suggests that such displays will not be tolerated on ‘a political issue.’

A central purpose for any public university is to engage students and the community in the issues of our time. Schools should not threaten students – or hide them away – because they engage in protests that some in the community may not agree with. SIU administrators should act immediately to reverse these new restrictive policies and welcome a full, vocal debate on all issues on the campus.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

121 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    –SIU Athletics administration has also added new language to the Code of Conduct policy that states any displays of activism will not be tolerated and could lead to the individual’s removal from their respective program.–

    Does this apply to both the Pyongyang and Riyadh campuses?


  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===Stettler apparently wasn’t on the same page as campus leadership, however.===

    Doesn’t mean she was wrong. In fact, she was exactly right about this being in the best traditions of what a university should stand for (no pun intended).


  3. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    Heaven forbid a University would encourage a student to think.


  4. - Wildkitten - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    Holy unconstitutional Batman.


  5. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    Not returning to campus ….so let’s run our students off and demand a subsidy from the viable campus and part of the state….


  6. - logic not emotion - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    NFL could learn from SIU. Good policy.


  7. - Charry - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    SIU gonna SIU, I have long advocated for halting all state funding and letting this place sink or swim on its own. You wanna be backwards racists, good luck, do it on your own dime. Pathetic.


  8. - Are Ya Kiddin' Me? - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    So the new SIUc policy is not to allow student(athletes) to express their first Amendment rights….hmm that school is really a mess right now.


  9. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    Like SIU Carbondale can afford to lose students. Let us know when Ward and June send their kids down there.


  10. - Not Rich - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    I guess the Bill of Rights starts with the 2nd Amendment down there..


  11. - Almost the weekend - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    Siue goes forward whole siuc continues to go backwards


  12. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    Why is it that when any woman dares to speak her mind, some slimeball threatens to rape her?


  13. - y - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    the protests are a joke. kneeling does nothing. all it does is bring nationalism into the equation. thousands of better ways to make a point, and a difference.


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    ===thousands of better ways to make a point, and a difference===

    Thousands? Name five.


  15. - Miss Marie - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    Did SIU say what they were doing to address the death and sexual assault threats against the cheerleaders?

    I feel like those threats don’t help promote unity at the school either


  16. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    SIU has been 100% dedicated to pushing a social agenda over quality education. The problem is the social agenda they are pushing doesn’t sell in Southern Illinois.

    It does not matter whether you agree, the people paying for the seats and donating the the university don’t want to see it.

    The inference that SIU has racist policies is absurd. If anything they have completely ignored the local population to focus more heavily on minority students from Chicago.


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    –NFL could learn from SIU. Good policy.–

    It’s not logical to get all emotional about silent, peaceful protests. In America.


  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    === If anything they have completely ignored the local population to focus more heavily on minority students from Chicago. ===

    That’s not even a dog whistle. It’s just plain out there.


  19. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    What’s next??? Is SIU going to throw out attendees who are in the bathroom, buying beer, or some other activity when the anthem plays? I doubt all 9112 fans were at attention. At least those three students were attentive.


  20. - y - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    1. using your popularity to hold dialogues on race.
    2. go to schools and talk to students about why racism is abhorrent, whenever and wherever it occurs.
    3. donate to groups working on social justice issues
    4. participate in marches against police brutality
    5. donate to legal defense funds fighting against police brutality and exoneration projects
    6. organize to help end the drug war, which enables the criminal justice system to persecute minorities.
    Should I keep going??
    Nationalism and racism are on par as two of the most dangerous -isms in the world. trying to combat one while inflaming the other, is counter productive..


  21. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    @y
    I tend to think direct actions, sit ins, boycotts, blockades, community organizing, strikes, and mass demonstrations are more effective.

    But something tells me you would approve of those even less…


  22. - Amalia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:32 pm:

    Wait, what???? No. As an Illinois taxpayer, whose tax dollars go to the University, what part of freedom of speech don’t you understand?


  23. - Egyptian Lives Matter - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:32 pm:

    === Kneeling does nothing. All it does is bring nationalism into the equation. ===

    No, mandating that thousands of people attending a football game rise to their feet for a moment of pregame nationalism kinda does that job.

    To the administration at SIU, participating in this pregame display of nationalism is “neutral” while opting not to do so is “activism”. That’s an interesting us of language.


  24. - Dr. H-W - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:33 pm:

    “Members of the department including student athletes cheerleaders and spirit members must remain neutral on any issue political in nature when wearing SIU official uniforms and when competing/performing in official department of athletics events and activities,”

    To remain neutral, how about not standing? Isn’t that the truly neutral position?


  25. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==the people paying for the seats and donating the the university don’t want to see it.==

    So what. If they don’t like it they don’t have to go to the games or donate money. They can have their little tantrum and take their ball and go home. I think they need to grow up.

    I have yet to figure out why there is such an uproar if someone doesn’t stand for the national anthem. Who cares?


  26. - Downstate - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    Would a coach tolerate his players laying on the floor at the start of the game for their particular protest?

    Is it okay if a band member chooses to wear a mask of (insert politician’s name) to protest a particular vote?

    Seems to me that when you choose the wear the uniform of an entity, you have a particular responsibility to abide by the expectations of the uniform provider. If you don’t like the expectations, you are free to not be a part of the particular entity or team.


  27. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    And how is that different from publishing an editorial in the school newspaper or speaking on the radio station?


  28. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    Patriot. At last. Somebody brave enough to tell the truth. 5 chancellors. Enrollment dropping so fast it makes people’s heads spin. You should be hired to run the show. Recruiting kids that are not ready for college is a waste of valuable university resources.


  29. - Wylie Coyote - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    I have no problem with them doing it on their own time and in their own clothes. I’ll leave it at that.


  30. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    @y
    Well, looks like I jumped the gun on that last comment. Sorry!

    But I think that those other actions also have inflamed nationalism, both recently and in the more distant past. And I think it’s a mistake to think any particular action precludes also doing any other. Symbolic actions like kneeling can have an impact that work with, not against, the other things we both appear to support.


  31. - austinman - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    If SIUC wants to keep its position, can i defer my state tax dollars from going to them? I just think people have a right to take a knee if they want too. The flag is suppose to represents the ideas of freedom, you know like the right to take a knee.


  32. - We'll See - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    “Any display (verbal or non-verbal) of activism (either for or against) a political issue will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the program.” […]”

    Is the compulsory standing for the National Anthem a display of activism?


  33. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    “If SIUC wants to keep its position, can i defer my state tax dollars from going to them?” Maybe the Janus decision applies? :)


  34. - Saluki - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    I applaud this action by SIUC.


  35. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    In 1972 an SIU Trustee said, “There is such a thing a free speech but it depends on how it’s used.”

    “Ah, is it just me or does anybody see
    The new improved tomorrow isn’t what it used to be
    Yesterday keeps comin’ ’round, it’s just reality
    It’s the same damn song with a different melody”


  36. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    Austinman. If SIUC wants to keep its position it ought to keep on doing what it’s been doing the last two decades.


  37. - Stark - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    Well, this ought to help Carbondale’s fledgling status. /s


  38. - Lt Guv - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    Profile in courage by the administration. Great learning experience.


  39. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:53 pm:

    I wish both Brendan Kelly and Mike Bost would weigh in on this topic.


  40. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    Our activism might have defering donations until common sense returns


  41. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    Power to the People. Hope these smart girls continue to think for themselves. This State and Country has bigger problems than cheerleaders taking a knee during anthem which has been going since 60’s


  42. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Not likely a first amendment issue; the Cheer squad is a select group eligible only to those students who tryout and are skilled enough to make the team and maintain a 2.0 GPA. Squad members are athlete ambassadors of the university (see below). As such they need to reflect the mission and values of the university. Now as students when they are not acting as members of the squad they may protest anything they want.

    “The Spirit Squad Program (Cheerleaders, Shakers, Mascots)
    Southern Illinois University Spirit Squad’s goal is to enhance the overall experience of the campus community by performing at Saluki sporting events, serving as ambassadors for the University, and being a role model of services, scholarship and leadership.”


  43. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    ===If SIUC wants to keep its position, can i defer my state tax dollars from going to them?===

    Only if I can defer my state tax dollars from going towards elective abortions. And don’t bother with a ‘one is constitutional and the other isn’t’ argument. SIU is well within its right to ban this activity in the manner it has. The university isn’t banning activism across the board.


  44. - Lefty Lefty - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    I go to quite a few HS athletic events. I like how now everyone has to be reminded to stand and men have to be reminded over the PA system now to take off our hats. True patriots all.


  45. - Matt Vernau - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    Organizing a half time seminar on Racism and police conduct might be more useful also.

    What many of you are forgetting is that your free speech can’t be allowed to silence mine.

    You are also forgetting that how you go about something is at least as important as what you are attempting to do.

    Should I hire you as third widget maker or select you as a representative of the best my school has to offer you need to “ride for the brand”. When I discover that you are promoting anti widget principles on my dime I am free to fire you. Check the labor law and groan. Same deal applies to the university. You were selected as a representative of what is good about this place and you chose to act in a way that will reduce donations??? Yeah Right…..


  46. - Leigh John-Ella - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    “Members of the department … must remain neutral on any issue political in nature when wearing SIU official uniforms”

    I look forward to them making sure no one from the athletic department ever wears an SIU polo shirt to a political fundraiser or fires anyone caught doing so.

    Did the school do away with its public relations department and degree programs? Two of the three students had left and the third wasn’t going to d it anymore. And what does SIUC do? Hey, let’s put this contentious issue back in the news.


  47. - cover - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    = I guess the Bill of Rights starts with the 2nd Amendment down there.. =

    Maybe it ends there too…


  48. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===Symbolic actions===

    That’s what protests are.


  49. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    I hope the school gets sued. That is just so wrong. There is nothing more American than protesting, right?


  50. - Notorious RBG - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    Texas Red — please articulate your legal basis for this not being a First Amendment issue. The way I see it, requiring students to stand during the anthem is directly contrary to the US Supreme Court’s holding in West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).


  51. - Perrid - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”

    Elie Wiesel


  52. - Lil Squeezy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    I do not support the national anthem being played before non-national team sporting events.


  53. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    Free speech.correct.first amendment. Correct. All noble causes. For sure. How many of you out there are aware of SIUC’s enrollment death spiral. Rich has posted on this countless times. The university darn well better do something different. Will this have any effect. Prolly not. But if the university doesnt try a different approach, its JUCO status in another few decades anyway.


  54. - Montrose - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    If I wrote my true thoughts on this policy, I would be banned from CapFax.

    I disagree with banning such activities in the NFL. The NFL is a private entity and the players and others are paid employees of that entity. Just as Rich has the right to set the parameters for speech on his blog, the NFL has that right as a private entity. Again, I don’t agree with that policy, but I think they have the legal right to do it.

    A public university is an entirely different matter. What’s the difference between banning activism at a game from banning it anywhere else of campus? What possible contribution to the common good does banning free speech make? A person may not believe taking a knee is an effect strategy, but that has nothing to do with a person’s right to use that strategy. A university actively stifling the free speech of its students is abhorrent. I am embarrassed for SIU.


  55. - Ga. Dawg - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    I cannot take part in political activity while I’m on the clock at work, because that is not what I was hired to do. Nobody sees that as an infringement on free speech rights; at least not yet. How is that different from those who represent a university? many of whom are getting some kind of tuition help from the school?


  56. - Leigh John-Ella - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    “If anything they have completely ignored the local population to focus more heavily on minority students from Chicago.”

    Reality check.

    You don’t have enough of a local population to support a major university. Sorry, but that’s the truth. If kids from other parts of the state (read Chicago area) stop coming to Carbondale — and they have by the thousands — you lose economic activity, employment, etc. That’s not good for Southern Illinois. Chicago-area kids coming to SIUC and spending money is what keeps the Southern Illinois economy going.

    And yes, I’m an SIUC grad but not from the local population.


  57. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===The university darn well better do something different===

    Yep. But doing “something” doesn’t mean just doing anything that comes to mind. It means doing something to increase enrollment. Since the cheerleader squabble seems to be over anyway, unnecessarily reigniting a conflict is a really bad idea.


  58. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Rich. Probably. But in all honesty 5 chancellors and 20 years of inept administration has done zero to bolster enrollment.


  59. - Downstate - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    Should there be any consequences if a group of Illinois House Page decides to kneel in front of the podium during every session to protest high taxes?

    What if they did it while wearing a bloody shirt?

    Agreeing to represent a high profile organization means acceding to their requirements.


  60. - Matt Vernau - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    Montrose. The school is not banning activism. They are banning activism in school uniform. If you wish to take a seat in the stadium and take a knee during the National Anthem, you can. Just don’t do it in your cheerleader outfit.


  61. - SSL - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:37 pm:

    I don’t have a problem with this peaceful protest action. These are young people participating in an activity, not paid professionals. You take a check, you listen to the boss regarding protesting while on the job.

    What these young people are protesting is an issue that will continue to divide this country.


  62. - BothSidesOfHisMouth - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:38 pm:

    I fail to see how kneeling during the anthem is political activity. Is the kid whose religious beliefs prompt him to stay silent during the pledge being “political?” Since when do we force people to blindly espouse support for or appreciation for things that do not in fact maintain their support or appreciation? What is this - a North Korea’s military display?


  63. - morningstar - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    Laughable. I foresee an interdisciplinary committee to study and elaborate on the meaning of “activism” with a multi-volume report to be submitted to the administration by …. oh, say… end of the spring semester.


  64. - Montrose - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    “Montrose. The school is not banning activism. They are banning activism in school uniform.”

    Fair clarification. It doesn’t change my belief that a public university should not be curtailing the free speech of its students.


  65. - Grandpa2 - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    I agree with folks that wearing a uniform requires following some rules. The SIU-C administrators are in a tough spot. The new policy was probably also put in place to keep other team members from reacting by wearing their MAGA caps or making more controversial political statements (imagine the reaction to a Nazi salute!).


  66. - welp - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    Does a state school have the authority to do this?


  67. - Matt Vernau - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    “a public university should not be curtailing the free speech of its students. ” The other job of the school is to help its students get and keep a job. This decision goes to the how part of that. How you go about doing something is just as important as what you do.


  68. - Paid and Paying - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 2:57 pm:

    SSL nails it. When we are *paid*, we voluntarily submit to the boss’ rules. When we are students *paying* to attend a public ‘university,’ there is no obligation to forsake peaceful protest.


  69. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    “elaborate on the meaning of “activism” ” I can’t define it but I’ll know it when I see it.


  70. - Montrose - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    “The other job of the school is to help its students get and keep a job. This decision goes to the how part of that. How you go about doing something is just as important as what you do.”

    I know a lot of people that spent a huge portion of their college life engaged in all forms of activism (myself included) that are not only gainfully employed in spite of that activity, but because of that activity.


  71. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:14 pm:

    They absolutely have a right to do it, just like the NFL guys.

    But, I agree with the new policy they outlined.


  72. - Paid and Paying - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    I’ll go a step further: any student *paying* to attend a public university should rightly expect to have their 1st Amendment rights protected — particularly when their ’speech’ means not saying anything at all! Amazing. Where are the 2nd Amendment firebrands?! Come on guys!


  73. - Matt Vernau - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    I know a lot of people that spent a huge portion of their college life engaged in all forms of activism (myself included) that are not only gainfully employed in spite of that activity, but because of that activity.

    Sir I think they taught you well.

    I hope they have done the same for the young lady who chose to stay.

    In this case just maybe taking a knee in the stadium during the national anthem would be the act that gets everyone in the stadium to take a knee.

    How you do a thing is as important as the thing you try to do.


  74. - Matts - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    You stand for something by kneeling.


  75. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    When I was a kid I was told to be respectful. It was not “me-time” when someone’s praying, performing and when the crowd is silent.

    Silly stunt.


  76. - Responsa - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    When any organization knowingly is alienating a significant segment of their customer base (or allows a significant segment of their customer base to be alienated by others) they are losing ground. This is a marketing and financial survival issue for them at this point in SIU’s history and SIU’s customer base is large and varied. It is comprised of current students, alumni, the parents and school counselors of potential future SIU students, local/regional residents who attend/support Saluki events and activities, and the many businesses which serve and cater to all these entities in and around Carbondale. The administration’s better late than never attempt to de-politicize classrooms, official school events and games does not in any way prevent the free speech rights of individual students on campus and in their free time. There is room to take stands and be activists on a variety of issues.


  77. - Dr. H-W - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969)


  78. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    Vanilla, your white privilege is showing. Get back to us when you’ve walked a mile in an African-American’s shoes.


  79. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    ====This is a marketing and financial survival issue for them at this point in SIU’s h

    I mean, I make a living on marketing higher education and I would still say that the university should be concerned more with the the educational value of this then the marketing.

    When I was teaching I taught political science. Now, the teaching isn’t partisan based, but how people and institutions make decisions for societies. However, the last thing I want is the classroom to be depoliticized–I’m teaching young people to think and that means developing their own thoughts and acting on them. This notion of depoliticization is anti-democratic.

    All that said, (not in response to Responsa) I heard about how higher education was banning people for having conservative views in a thread for another post. Perhaps that person didn’t scroll down.


  80. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    ==the protests are a joke. kneeling does nothing== you would have really hated it when my colleagues chained themselves to city busses to protest the fact they were not accessible. Guess what not only got their attention but they also got accessible busses. How’s that for a joke? Lighten up Francis.


  81. - Responsa - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    Hi Arch,

    Of course the highest objective of any university must be providing an education–teaching students to think and to operate in a complex society and to help prepare them with skills to earn a living. However, SIU has to be viable, accredited in a variety of fields, have quality administrators and teachers, and a ready supply of students in order to achieve this goal. Many many threads on this blog exposing the dire financial position of the state universities and especially SIU makes me think that survival of this institution is not assured. Or perhaps their financial condition is not as bad as has been suggested. IDK.


  82. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    I’m surprised it took the ACLU so long. And very disappointed that the university’s general counsel let this happen.
    I may just be an old caveman lawyer, but this is not a tough legal question, folks,


  83. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    ===surprised it took the ACLU so long===

    Less than three hours is long?


  84. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:18 pm:

    I mean, have you ever worked with an organization trying to get out a press release on an unexpected topic?


  85. - Just Saying - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    “It was a protest for our civil rights that we are still fighting for, that we have been fighting for, for hundreds of years and we’re not getting any justice.”

    So what rights do they not have that I have? Seems to me they have more rights than I do.


  86. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:23 pm:

    ===Seems to me they have more rights than I do===

    cc: @RacismDog Woof!


  87. - Give Me a Break - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:23 pm:

    I bet SIU wouldn’t take the same approach if athletes and students all did a peaceful protest at events that protested the fact that the funding for the school needs to be increased and should not be cut or held up. But then again, we live in a world of Hypocrites today.


  88. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    And unless I’m missing something, although the ACLU condemns the policy the statement doesn’t suggest legal action.


  89. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:29 pm:

    Took so long was a bit of a joke, Rich.
    I was trying to be snippy about SIU, not the ACLU.

    I guess it needed a “/snark” after the line.

    (And I have worked with organizations that turn out press releases in a hurry.)


  90. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:35 pm:

    ===However, SIU has to be viable, accredited in a variety of fields, have quality administrators and teachers, and a ready supply of students in order to achieve this goal

    I don’t think we disagree on this, and we may be splitting hairs even on politicization, but the best way for a college to be successful long term is to deliver a good education–activism should be a part of that (all sorts of activism) and my concern when people talk about depoliticizing universities is that we discourage students from taking part in their democracy and being good students. That may not be what you meant–it’s kind of what I hear though when I hear that word.


  91. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:35 pm:

    “Montrose. The school is not banning activism. They are banning activism in school uniform. If you wish to take a seat in the stadium and take a knee during the National Anthem, you can. Just don’t do it in your cheerleader outfit.”

    Exactly. There is an apparently growing strain of thought that people should be free to protest and politically advocate while on the job, or in uniform, etc because…Constitution? No, that’s now how it works, nor should it.

    Freedom of association is also a right. Shoot, these students can protest *all day long* about nearly *anything* right until they show up for work, or any other organized group’s activities. They can skip class, they can skip work, and they can even skip cheer leading. At that point they join an organization, though, they have willingly agreed to the rules of the organization.

    Just like in the post-academic real world, many organizations don’t want political advocacy during group activities. It breeds dissension and can paint the organizations and other members into corners. Neutrality is also to be respected, despite what our polarized climate right now wants.

    Put more simply, ripping away at freedom of association while advocating for freedom of speech is counter-productive and poorly thought out.


  92. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==Silly stunt==

    Well I’m glad you’ve cleared that up for all of us.

    There’s nothing silly about it. If your fee fee’s are hurt because someone kneels for the national anthem then you really need to grow up.


  93. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:45 pm:

    ===Seems to me they have more rights than I do===

    It’s not pie. Someone exercising their rights doesn’t take anything from you. It’s not a zero sum game.

    Did it ever occur to you that perhaps African-Americans have more injustices to protest than you do? If an African-American male from Illinois finds himself at a state institution in Southern Illinois, the odds are very high that he’ll be in prison, not college.

    What Colin Kaepernick started is a wonderfully appropriate peaceful expression. That he has inspired so many people, including these students, is a good and necessary thing. That some believe this action is at their expense speaks volumes about how white conservatives have become professional victims.


  94. - Motherjones - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:51 pm:

    So SIU thinks this is going to help them with boosters and alumni, I guess? They can’t be delusional enough to think it will help them attract, you know, STUDENTS, can they?

    I’m an alumni. I’m a reasonably close resident - hour and a half. This “announcement,” about a controversy already over that no one asked for any “answer” for, is worse than useless.

    It proves to me, an alumni, that the SIUC administration is just as out of touch now as when they decided, in their infinite wisdom, that they had to close campus and try to empty dorms to avoid Halloween, 25+ years ago.

    How’s that worked out for them, fighting against their student body and the things they appreciated the University for, like Halloween and Springfest? What’s that? Enrollment has been falling ever since?

    I’m a proud Saluki. But they just lost my support, finally and forever, with this shortsighted, racist, pandering to whitebread bull. For real.

    No alumni $. No sporting events. Not even a tshirt. Done, if this is what hundreds of thousands in Chancellor and Provost salaries buys us.

    Go COUGARS! No thanks, C’Dale.


  95. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:53 pm:

    ===fighting against their student body and the things they appreciated the University for, like Halloween and Springfest===

    The town clearly won the traditional town vs. gown fight in Carbondale.


  96. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:55 pm:

    Black people kneeling in protest…..
    White administrators not happy with it and trying to stop it.

    Gee….I wonder why.
    Aw heck,I will just say it….they’re thinking “Those uppity black kids need to know their place.”
    That is what they are thinking.
    Racism straight up.


  97. - dbk - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    It would be interesting to see comparable statements on “the right to exercise free speech through peaceful, non-violent, symbolic protest” by UIUC or UIC … or by the Big Ten, for example.

    I have the sense that this thread is somehow connected with the earlier post/thread on “The Reordering of Illinois.”


  98. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:59 pm:

    “racist, pandering to whitebread bull”

    So they must advocate your beliefs–which apparently includes that diverse organizations have no right to be neutral out of respect for all members–or else they are racist and pander to…whitebread?

    So as a Latino, can I ask what I am? Where do I fall in your colorful descriptions? What kind of bread am I, Mother Jones?


  99. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    I think every single athlete at that school should take a knee during the anthem now.
    What is SIU going to do?Kick them all out?
    Not a chance.

    First,they would get sued into oblivion.
    Second,HUGE loss of revenue for the school.
    “But…but…they can replace them with freshmen coming in or athletes in intramurals”.

    Good luck trying to get people to go watch winless teams for a few years.


  100. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    ===SIU thinks this is going to help them with boosters and alumni===

    Some wealthy southern Illinoisans cut them off last year, so maybe, yeah.


  101. - SIUEalum - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    SIUC has a lot of problems. This isn’t one of them.


  102. - Motherjones - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    Liandro,

    How about no opinions at all? How about kneel, don’t kneel, support, don’t support, as you personally deem fit? How about a public organization like the university work hard to take no position about individual or even concerted protests, at all, and instead confine itself to working on improving as an institution of higher learning?

    Their standards should be higher than mine or yours in that regard.

    Just a thought.


  103. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    - logic not emotion - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    NFL could learn from SIU. Good policy.
    =================================================

    No. It is lousy policy.
    I stand for the anthem when it is played at events I attend..
    But if someone doesn’t want to stand while it is being played that is fine with me too.


  104. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    ===Some wealthy southern Illinoisans cut them off last year, so maybe, yeah.===

    This could speak to the regional impact having universities where they “are”, and as an important fixture in the region (socially, economically,…) if SIU needs to reflect the local “feelings”… how can these regional schools hope to be enticing to “kids” nit from the region… like Chicago kids?


  105. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:07 pm:

    - SIUEalum - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    SIUC has a lot of problems. This isn’t one of them.
    ===============================================
    Ding ding ding.
    Winner.

    Over the last several months SIU has had far more things they should be worried about.


  106. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    “How about no opinions at all? How about kneel, don’t kneel, support, don’t support, as you personally deem fit?”

    No opinions is exactly what the new policy is: “any displays of activism will not be tolerated and could lead to the individual’s removal from their respective program”

    If you take a knee as a student, that’s fine. If you take a knee as a representative of the school, that is not fine. You cannot express your opinion on controversial topics while representative the school (or many organizations, including most employment positions).

    If these students said they didn’t want to take part of the ceremony, I would think that should be respected. If, *while representing the school*, they want to actively and controversially protest during that ceremony…that’s a whole different thing. That’s no “no opinions”, that’s quite the opposite.


  107. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:18 pm:

    –No opinions is exactly what the new policy is: “any displays of activism will not be tolerated and could lead to the individual’s removal from their respective program”–

    No, the policy is only one opinion will be tolerated, that is, to stand.

    As someone mentioned earlier, some of you all should pay attention to what’s going on around you at sporting events during the national anthem.

    If a silent, peaceful gesture of kneeling offends you, what do you suggest should be the punishment for those who choose to hit the concessions stand, bathroom, or just walk around and gab?

    And remember, this is the United States.


  108. - Motherjones - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    Liandro,

    No, the opinion of the university is to impose its desires on student athletes. Not at all the same as no opinion.

    For a university in as much recruitment trouble as SIUC, this is not just a solution in search of a problem, it’s an extremely problematic “solution,” unless they are trying to close the campus.

    If that’s the goal, by all means, continue.


  109. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:30 pm:

    @word,

    That’s nonsense. First, I wonder if you’re injecting something that isn’t there. You know for a fact that students are required to participate in the ceremony against their will? Not being allowed to protest =/= forced to participate. These students specifically said they did not ask to be excepted; heck, they don’t even say anything in advance.

    Secondly, if the school expects it’s official representatives to stand for the ceremony, that is their organization’s position. If someone doesn’t want to represent the school…then don’t. Attend as a student and kneel all you want.

    When I was a kid, for awhile I refused to pledge allegiance to the flag. I explained my position and why, and it was respected. Now, I didn’t roll in and keel during the ceremony. If I had, the organization would have been well within its rights to kick me out as a member.

    When I was in high school sports, our school specifically taught us that we were representing the school. It was a privilege, and certain behaviors or actions were not tolerated while in uniform. I was taught the same in the military, and at many jobs.

    So yes, this is the United State. Freedom of speech is important here. So is freedom of association. If I am a representative of my school (in uniform no less), then I am by definition not representing myself. I have the right to quit (freedom of association again) and protest not just the ceremony, but the school’s policy (freedom of speech). But not until I quit the group.


  110. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:36 pm:

    “No, the opinion of the university is to impose its desires on student athletes.”

    Again, you know of students athletes/representatives that have asked for principled exceptions and been forced to participate anyway? I doubt it. If they take it that far I would join you in opposition, although they’d be within their legal rights. Right now we’re just getting all worked up without that knowledge, though.


  111. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:49 pm:

    –Secondly, if the school expects it’s official representatives to stand for the ceremony, that is their organization’s position. If someone doesn’t want to represent the school…then don’t–

    Correct — one opinion allowed.


  112. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:02 pm:

    @word:

    So you’re 100% certain every school representative is forced to participate, even if a student asks not to participate? Got it. You’re a big fan of journalism, so I assume you’ve done your homework on that.

    If you’re right, I’m with you; that would be too extreme. I’ve seen zero evidence of that so far, though, so I’ll just wait until that happens before I get all worked up.


  113. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:08 pm:

    Also, it’s worth noting that supporting the right of cheer leaders to protest during official functions in this way is the same as supporting their right to protest for ANY cause during official functions. Will everyone here be as big a supporter of “free speech” protests during official functions, by official representatives, if a white power protest happens during the ceremony? I sure won’t be.


  114. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 7:24 pm:

    ==When I was a kid I was told to be respectful.==

    Respectful to the needs of your community or blindly “respectful” (AKA conformist) to the requirements of the majority?

    These women are excellent examples of how to show respect. The kneeled to show respect for both the moment and the needs of a community in neglect.


  115. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 7:46 pm:

    OK, let’s take this debate to a slightly different area.
    Are college professors — SIU employees — allowed to use their SIU letterhead to advocate for whatever issues they want?

    I’ve seen university professors use their letterhead to advocate for all kinds of political issues over the years.

    What’s the difference?
    I have a feeling if the SIU admin sent the same kind of letter to faculty, all heck would break loose.


  116. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 7:53 pm:

    IMO. This is about one and only one thing. SIUC’s survival. It’s that precarious. It’s not Rauner. It’s not scholarships. It’s about drawing a diverse cross section of kids from throughput the state. I am not saying this is the answer. Someone has rolled the dice. Maybe .


  117. - Liandro - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:10 pm:

    “Are college professors — SIU employees — allowed to use their SIU letterhead to advocate for whatever issues they want?”

    I’ll follow to that discussion. My position would be no, because anything put on letterhead by an employee should follow some basic rules of professional conduct/representation. Whether or not SIU actually has such a policy (or enforces it) is another question.

    And I agree that there is some correlation between the scenarios. I assume professors have greater latitude to set policy (and even to advocate) within their classrooms and their role as an academic, but it should still fall within certain parameters set by the school. That is certainly true at the local level (as the occasional school board controversy demonstrates).

    To your point, though, I have seen college level academics get away with behavior that would almost certainly never fly at local public schools.

    Another good question: what level of neutrality should be expected of a public university in exchange for getting tax dollars? As a conservative who went to a very large public university, I thought the school did a decent job of being neutral and allowing for a wide range of experiences/discussion/viewpoints. Campuses differ, though.


  118. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:11 pm:

    The right to kneel during the National Anthem is a right and they should be allowed to practice that right. I believe in our Constitution and even speech that offends is still allowed. Both sides of the political spectrum need to understand this and allow all forms of speech, no matter how much it offends them.

    I say this as a person who volunteered for the Army, served 21 years and fought in several Countries. I have presented the Flag to widows and children of veterans at their funerals and to the widow of one of my best friends. I may not agree with the kneeling during the anthem, but I have and will still fight so they can protest.


  119. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:37 pm:

    I regret that I was too busy today to participate in this discussion.

    My primary thought is this: Where is the Right on this? They have been trolling campuses for years now, complaining about “snowflakes” and PC policies. But this issue? Crickets.

    These women have clearly paid attention in class and taken their educations and the ever-so-slight privilege of their positions to heart. They took an unpopular position to help call attention to a societal wrong. Their reward was to be threatened and then sent to the back of the bus.

    Cheers to whoever taught these women and shame to those who seek to shut them up.


  120. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 9:10 pm:

    Formerparatrooper. I too have served. This isn’t so much about rights as it is about SIUC’S survival. Things down here are out of balance. Left wing. Right wing. Politics as usual need to stay the he….’ll out of the way. SIUC needs a radical departure from business as usual to survive.


  121. - A Jack - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 9:10 am:

    If this truly is about SIUC’s survival, they dropped the ball. The protest itself was is hardly a blip on the radar. But the bad publicity that SIUC has received from the policy change is not going to help enrollment, especially among minority students.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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