ASHLAND, Ore., Oct. 16 (UPI) — Four students at Southern Oregon University claim they were threatened by campus officials while protesting the school’s free speech policies.
The students were passing out copies of the Constitution and asking for signatures on a petition to end SOU’s “free speech zone” policy, which limits protests to one spot on campus. They say they were targeted because of their affiliation with Students for Concealed Carry, a new group advocating for gun rights on college campuses.
“We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” student Stephanie Keaveney told Campus Reform, which also obtained video of the indecent. “Administrators accused us of causing an immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.”
She said campus officials told them they had received a complaint from another student, but denied being approached by anyone other than university personnel.
The students claimed the university staff threatened to call police or otherwise bring disciplinary action if they did not stop their demonstration.
But a spokesman for the university said students were only asked to relocate, not forced or threatened.
“[The students] were not forced to move to the free speech zone, nor were they prevented from continuing to hand out their literature,” said Ryan Brown, Southern Oregon University’s Head of Community and Media Relations.
Keaveney confirmed that they had not been approached by city police, nor had they faced action from the university. Brown said the school has no intention to take any action against the students.
In videos obtained by Campus Reform, director of university housing Tim Robitz can be heard asking the SCC students to move their protest elsewhere.
“I would very much like you to leave, if you would, please, because the students have the right to be able to come by here without you guys, you know, invading their space and asking them to do something,” he says in the video.
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Southern Oregon University allegedly threatens students handing out Constitutions