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Saturday, April 5, 2014

OSU conservative student newspaper wins freedom of speech case

front page of anti-gay Oregon State University conservative student newspaper 'The Liberty' April 6-25, 2005

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) Oregon State University conservative student newspaper "The Liberty" front page from April 6-24, 2005 featured articles to politically agitate students about their student fee money being used to support things they opposed, such as the Women's Center and the Pride Center, which the paper carefully noted was called the Queer Resource Center. A conservative OSU Professor Fred Decker sponsored the newspaper to further Republican causes, including opposing marriage equality and amend the Oregon Constitution to forbid same-sex marriages. The students claimed to be victims of political correctness and they successfully sued after their newspaper boxes were removed by OSU under a then unwritten policy against non-campus approved newspapers. See previous post Letter on OSU free speech ruling for anti-gay student newspaper (10/27/12)

UPDATE (4/7/14): After the GT newspaper article quoted below, the OSU student newspaper printed an article by Sean Bassinger, "Liberty case comes to close," Barometer, Apr. 7, 2014, p. 1, 3

"OSU agreed to pay $101,000 from the university's general fund to settle a lawsuit filed in 2009 on behalf of The Liberty, a conservative-leaning alternative student newspaper. . . . Clark objected to the fact that only $1,000 of the settlement payment went to one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, former Liberty executive editor William Rogers, while the rest goes to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian organization that provided legal counsel in the case. "It wasn't a freedom of speech matter -- it became that -- but (the settlement) benefitted not freedom of speech, it benefitted an association of attorneys," Clark said." (Quoted from Bennett Hall, "OSU trades barbs with law firm over settlement," Gazette-Times, Apr. 5, 2014, p. A1, A8)

While I applaud the leadership of Oregon State University President Ed Ray over the last decade, the fact "he's from New York and not prone to scare" (Associated Press, "Ray: OSU's Bend site settled," Gazette-Times, Apr. 4, 2014, p. A1, A5 (posted online as "Ray: Site for OSU's Bend campus site won't change")) probably led to the loss (Associated Press, "Ray: OSU's Bend site settled," Gazette-Times, Apr. 4, 2014, p. A1, A5 (posted online as "Ray: Site for OSU's Bend campus site won't change")) of a freedom of speech case brought by conservative OSU students, who were financially backed and incited by OSU Professor Fred Decker, an acolyte of President Reagan.

Ray rightfully saw this case had no real victims and it was clearly designed to smear those "ivory tower and politically correct liberals" as being hypocrites for censoring conservatives' viewpoint on campus.

The OSU Archives document a real victim of censorship, the former OSU Professor W. Dorr Legg who served as a Christian minister at Camp Adair during World War II and who later won a truly landmark free speech ruling in the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court case of "ONE Inc. v. Olesen" that allowed Legg to publish a scholarly homophile advocacy journal and later form the present-day Log Cabin Club for gay Republicans.

Another real victim was a longtime Corvallis resident who participated in the 1960's University of California Berkeley "Free speech Movement" and was arrested during a 1970 protest for doing with another man in public what heterosexuals regularly do with impunity (Source: University of California Berkeley Bancroft Library "Social Protests Collection").

Sadly, the real victim of the $100,000 legal settlements from OSU will be students.

See previous posts: