From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal | Published 2:59 p.m. ET September 21, 2017
A series of fliers urging students to join a white nationalist group have been appearing on the University of Louisville’s campus.
“For all of those who feel alone in caring about the future of European people and the preservation of European culture, you are not alone,” the poster reads.
University police are investigating the U of L Identitarians, the group placing the papers at bus stops around campus for the last three weeks. While university police said students shouldn’t be concerned, others are furious.
That part of the story is unremarkable, other than the fact that the Courier-Journal chose to report it, with a photo, when the editors would have made nothing about posters from Black Lives Matter or homosexual activist groups. But it was the last paragraph which spurred my ire:
“Just this morning is when we first heard about it,” said Kenny Brown, interim chief of U of L Police. “We’ll get a copy of it and review security footage to see who put it up.”
What? Regardless of what one thinks about the “U of L Identitarians,” they were simply exercising their freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The interim President of the University wrote:
Faculty, Staff and Students,
Recently, our campus has been littered with flyers bearing messages that have caused concern among underrepresented groups on campus.
Groups that attempt to separate us have no place at the University of Louisville. We have built a well-deserved reputation as a safe, welcoming home for all our students, faculty and staff, and we will continue to work to sustain that respect and support among our community.
The UofL Police Department is investigating this incident. They ask that anyone who sees suspicious activity or materials that may be deemed offensive or threatening to call them immediately at 852-6111.
Again, the university is no place for those who wish to separate us or to cause fear among our population. Let us all work together to ensure that every member of our community is supported and respected.
Greg Postel, M.D., Interim President
At least thus far, whomever the Identitarians are — and I was unable to find a website for their group through a Google search¹ — they have not attacked anyone, have not committed any crimes, nor done anything other than exercise their freedom of speech.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
And yet here, the University of Louisville, a state university in Kentucky, is “investigating” the posting of these flyers, and the university president is asking that “anyone who sees suspicious activity or materials that may be deemed offensive or threatening to call” the campus police. The campus police are going to “review security footage” to attempt to identify who put up the posters. William Teach of The Pirate’s Cove has a blog tagline which states, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all,” and he is absolutely right.
I do not have to like the U of L Identitarians to support their freedom of speech, any more than I have to like Black Lives Matter organizers to believe that they have a right to put up posters and organize. Frankly, I don’t like either group, but just as almost no one would think we should ban BLM from putting up posters, we should also not ban the Identitarians from advertising however they would like.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – While the poster lists an email address by which the group may be contacted, I chose not to do so. I am not interested in reporting about the group individually, but am simply concerned about the freedom of speech. If you are interested in seeing a photo of the flyer, it is available at the Courier-Journal original.