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The Antelope

The Antelope

First Amendment for fascist posters?


No freedom is without limits, responsibilities

By Elliot Gonnella

There are mixed opinions about the university’s response to those fascist posters that were placed around campus. It was expected to be obligatory and canned, painfully so, however there seems to be one section of that response that drew the ire of quite a few.

The part of the official response in question: “They (the posters) were not removed because of content, they were removed because they weren’t approved per our policy.”

I have come to terms with it – referring to it as a halfhearted and measured response. I don’t think the university is condoning white supremacy or any other racial superiority by stating that there is a process to post things in the public area. Still, the university most likely also doesn’t want to get dragged into a fight unless it has to, nor does it wish to be seen as the aggressor so UNK took the path of least resistance and hopefully this will be forgotten in a week or so.

While I can perhaps understand why they chose this response, I can also understand why it would upset quite a few students and faculty members. Fascists have earned their reputation for not reciprocating freedoms such as that of speech to people outside of their clique.

There is danger about making this just a matter of the freedom of speech, to be sure.

There is danger about making this just a matter of the freedom of speech, to be sure. Even with rhetoric this disgraceful, each layer deserves to be examined and discussed. This is not just an issue focused on central Nebraska; it represents a trend across the nation and other parts of the world. We need to think about how it got here, why, and what we can do to prevent potentially harmful consequences if such language continues unabated. If the party who posted these fliers – an actual fascist or someone else entirely – wishes to have a discussion in a neutral environment in person I would be willing to do so.

Though this brings me to another  point: I think the fascists and similar groups use methods to make their voices seem larger than they really are. They have the freedom to say, write and create what they will. But the freedom to do so means they have the freedom to accept the consequences of their actions.

Posting these items around campus is not only against campus policy, but it is also vandalism or perhaps destruction of property if damage was done where these posters were applied. That is not because of what was posted, it is because of how they were posted. I am sure if I posted something harmless like “Puppy lovers…UNITE” all over campus without getting permission and damaged state or private property, I would be in a world of trouble and rightfully so. I used my freedom of speech in a way that was not abiding the rules set in place. That is not censorship or stifling my freedom of speech; it is requiring me to follow the system set in place.

If people or organizations want to be treated with respect, then they need to use their freedoms in a respectful manner. Taping posters with vitriol and fear mongering statements like vandals does not score points in that regard. Instead of giving this organization credence, this made it look like a petulant child slamming their fists against the wall trying to be the center of attention.

Until this organization wants to have a discussion about their beliefs with others who will listen and debate it, they will justly be known as those who hide behind anonymous posters.

Editor’s Note:

The Antelope strongly defends First Amendment freedoms and accepts the role of circulating ideas in a socially responsible manner. The Antelope is in contact with the organization responsible for the posters and more coverage will be available soon.

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