Last week at the University of Nebraska, the chapter president of Turning Point USA at UN got a rude lesson in the limits on free speech on the college campus. The student was accosted by an unidentified university employee at the table she hosted on which lay numerous flyers with conservative messages, and told she had to move to a free speech zone because the space on which she rested was a “reservable” space.
The exchange went like this:
Unidentified university employee: Okay. I’m going to have to ask you guys to move this to the free speech zone or we’ll have to have UNLP to remove you. It’s completely up to you.
TPUSA chapter president: Isn’t this a public university?
Unidentified university employee: Not with “propaganda.” You can “free speech” all you want but you cannot hand out “propaganda.”
TPUSA chapter president: But isn’t this a public university?
Unidentified university employee: It is. But this is a reservable area that requires a reservation. I’ve asked you once; if I have to ask you again, I’m going to have to call UNLPD. It’s up to you.
Unidentified voice: Where is the free speech zone?
Unidentified university employee: The free speech zone is on the other side of the Memorial Plaza signs.
Unidentified man: What is she doing that violates free speech?
Unidentified university employee: This is a reservable space that requires a reservation and you don’t have one.
TPUSA chapter president: But I’m not inside; I’m on the public property.
Unidentified university employee: It’s everywhere from —
Unidentified man: So the Constitution doesn’t hold?
Unidentified university employee: From the two signs, okay? So if you’re on the other side of the two signs, you’ve got a free speech zone. It’s specifically over there between the signs.
TPUSA chapter president: Is this a public university?
Unidentified university employee: Yes, it is.
TPUSA chapter president: Then why can’t I be out here?
Student bystander: It’s the same reason you can’t be inside, like, in the bathroom. Over there, it’s free.
Unidentified university employee: He is correct. Yes. Public university, free speech, reservable space, free speech zone. In order —
Student: is it the same spot where the evangelist goes?
Unidentified university employee: Yes. Yes. You guys can be over there. That is free speech. Here, because now you’ve got “propaganda,” you’ve also got a table reservation that requires …
Soon after the exchange, the university police arrived.
Some Twitter users issued some apt responses to the University of Nebraska’s limited space for free speech:
Video of exchange below: