Students for a Democratic Society
To: Kyle Bunting
We received your letter about the Judicial Review that you want to enact on us. I am saddened that you have had such a negative response to an organization that advocates for free speech on our campus. You may believe that so called "regulations" on posting flyers and tabling do not suppress student voice, but they do. Here is how:
1. The SGA attempted to censor one of SDS's flyers last semester because of a controversial picture.
2. Most of the regulated posting areas are out of the way for students and are not easily noticeable. (Please note that none of the flyers SDS posted in unregulated zones have damaged property).
3. Tabling has to be reserved too far in advance to table about current events. For example, SDS sought to raise awareness about the pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis and was unable to reserve a table for this until next semester. This reservation policy restricts tabling for immediate relevance.
4. Without tabling, there is no adequate place for organizations to be visible to large amounts of students. In order to reach a wide variety of students, SDS seeks to table every day, a request that has been denied to us. I want to remind you, campus restrictions on when and where students can engage in tabling and other forms of political speech was a primary impetus for the development of the Free Speech Movement in the early sixties. (A struggle, I might add, that the students won.)
5. We believe students should be allowed to organize and get together in any public space, which includes all spaces within state universities. It is bullshit that we are limited to so called "free speech zones,” which, despite the misleading language, are actually a restriction on free speech. SDS rejects the assumptions underlying the designated areas that are regulated by soulless, fragmented and inhuman bureaucracies.
Even Susan Cole supported freedom of speech and expression in her welcoming speech this past September:
"free speech, the cornerstone of our democracy and an absolutely fundamental principle governing the operation of a free university, is very easy to defend when we like the speakers and their message ... Quite simply, none among us has the right to set him or herself up as an arbiter of which ideas or expressions others may explore. That principle is most definitely not an easy one to live with, but it is absolutely necessary that we do live with it if the university is to be the societal guardian of free expression that it should be. We must trust in the fundamental nature of the free university."
In legal terms, tabling regulations infringe on our First Amendment rights. In 2004, the Supreme Court struck down Texas Tech’s speech code and ruled that students at public universities are allowed to assemble in common areas “irrespective of whether the University has so designated them or not." In other words, students are allowed to assemble without regulation as long as they are not creating a hazard or disrupting classes. This 2004 ruling is part of a long history of struggle and progress toward protecting free speech on college campuses.
By punishing SDS for tabling and posting flyers, you are unjustly restricting students’ political speech on campus and in the process demonstrating a stunning historical blindness that I personally find abhorrent. SDS's position on this matter is not a result of carelessness or disorganization. We make deliberate and thoughtful decisions with the best interests of the student body in mind. We also act in defense of the principles of democracy and civic participation that allow our society to move forward.
We look forward to presenting our case to the SGA. Like our comrades who came before us, we will fight your attempt to smuggle restrictions on free speech into our educational system. And we will win. History is on or side. Montclair State University must allow free, unrestricted political speech on campus.
Regulated speech is not free speech,
CC: John Aspray
CC: Gil Balanzat
CC: Susan Cole
CC: Maya Curry
CC: Corinne Dodenhoff
CC: Grover Furr
CC: Aldo Guerra
CC: Jon Husarik
CC: Esha Kallianpur
CC: Tyson Lewis
CC: Mark Ludas
CC: Karen Pennington
CC: Brennan McFarlan
CC: Dennis Medina
CC: Nick Mimikos
CC: The Montclarion
CC: Kiki Naranjo
CC: Shannon O’Donnell
CC: Katherine Oakes
CC: Nick Potok
CC: Jared Shababb
CC: Greg Tuttle
CC: Ken Watson
CC: Bob Whitney
CC: Rich Wolfson
CC: Justin Wooten
 The Constitution of the United States http://www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Amend.html