Learning that Grambling State University had ordered students to delete and not forward emails containing political solicitations, today the ACLU of Louisiana sent an open letter to Grambling's President, Dr. Frank Pogue, urging him to lift the ban and respect the First Amendment rights of Grambling's students.
Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said: "The First Amendment exists to protect speech, including political speech. Grambling students have the right to make political statements, including those in support of political candidates. As a state university, Grambling should encourage its students to respect our Constitution and to exercise their rights. Instead, it has violated those rights by telling students that they may not express their political views."
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that political speech merits the highest protection, to ensure the robust exchange of ideas necessary for a true democracy. Esman continued: "When a university provides a student with an email account, it cannot restrict speech for purely political purposes, because doing so limits the right to engage in political debate. Grambling students have the absolute right to engage in political discussion. In fact, they should be commended for being engaged in our democratic system."
A copy of the ACLU's letter can be found here.