Sick University Slams Free Speech, Bans Christian
The University of Wyoming recently prevented Todd Schmidt, an elder from the Laramie Faith Community Church, from staffing a table inside the student union. The institution reportedly curtailed Schmidt's ability to book a table in the student union when he posted a placard identifying a biologically male student who is now a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
The kicker, he did everything they asked...
According to the Cowboy State Daily, Schmidt’s sign read “God created male and female and [student’s name] is a male”, and the university considered this discrimination and harassment. While Schmidt complied with the university’s request to remove the student’s name from the sign, he was still issued the one year ban. This decision has been met with criticism from those who believe that this ban violates Schmidt’s freedom of speech.
According to Eugene Volokh, a prominent professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, while institutions have the authority to control speech within buildings, once that space becomes a public forum, laws must be administered neutrally regardless of position. This means that the University of Wyoming should have applied the same policy to all speech, regardless of whether it was in accordance with their own.
"The university could try to set up some viewpoint-neutral rule that applied to speech regardless of its stance on transgender issues or any other issues, but from what I understand it sounds like this speech was targeted in large part because of its message, because of its ideological position,” Volokh said. “And that is unconstitutional in this type of limited public forum.”
The University of Wyoming's decision to bar Todd Schmidt from operating a booth in the student union raises fundamental concerns about free expression. This decision not only bans Schmidt from exercising his religious beliefs, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for institutions to discriminate against speech that differs from their own.