Wednesday, April 11, 2007

USC students defy "free speech zone"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Students at the University of Southern California (where I presently teach on a Fulbright chair) are occupying the school president's offices, protesting the use of sweatshop labor in the production of school merchandise.

The school has an Orwellian "free speech zone" policy that changes depending on whom you talk to. The office that administers permits claims that there is no such thing as a free speech zone on campus ("the whole campus is a free speech zone" is what they told me), but every security guard on campus knows where the free speech zone is and will tell you, if you ask, that no protests are allowed except by permit within the zone.

The students from SCALE -- the anti-sweatshop group -- tell me that the last time they protested, they were thrown out of the "free speech zone" by a security guard who told them they had "too many people for the free speech zone."

It's shameful for the university to buy sweatshop goods, and doubly shameful for the administration to betray the principles of free speech and free inquiry that are supposed to be uppermost in the academy. What a crummy civics lesson to impart to our students: "get in the box and shut up."

I'm headed over to the president's office now to get some pics. I'll post them after my class this afternoon. Link

See also USC protestors sent to "free speech zone"

posted by Cory Doctorow at 02:41:10 PM permalink | Other blogs' comments

No comments: