Column: U. Texas Ban On Display Of Campaign Signs Infringes On Students' Rights

This story was written by Leah Finnegan, Daily Texan


The University of Texas' vendetta against the display of campaign signs in certain areas on campus has emerged from the dark with a mere three and a half weeks left until the election. Andy Jones, public relations director for the University Democrats, noted that the Department of Housing and Food Services did not feel the need to enforce its aesthetics guidelines in the weeks around the primary election in March, during which dorm windows across campus were plastered with political paraphernalia.

Now, the academic welfare of several students who refuse to comply with this asinine and frivolous rule is in danger. The University is threatening to bar the students from registering for the spring semester in a passive-aggressive move to push them off campus.

This is not an issue of aesthetics. It is an issue of control and power, and it grossly infringes on students rights. What are the signs doing besides disproving the stereotype of the apathetic young voter? Students passion for politics should be a source of pride for the University, not an alarm for concern.

If the University is intent on enforcing its aesthetics guidelines, wed like to alert them of a situation on the third floor of the Roberts Hall Dormitory. Someone has flagrantly put both a lion window sticky and a bow window sticky on the second window from the left on the east front end of the building. Around the corner from the offensive stickies, a window screams with a Dallas Cowboys sign. Another window could be accused of false advertising: It boasts a sign for Sweet Leaf Tea.

We cannot begin to surmise why the University is trying to invoke this rule at this time. We can only take this shallow yet frighteningly authoritative dictum of what can and cannot be done in terms of expression on campus as a symbol of a university uninterested in the voices of its students.
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