Free Speech Victory at University of Nebraska Omaha (For Now)

Every student organization has a right to reach out to the student body to raise awareness of events and issues.

At the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), there is a procedure for approving displays and posters so that these displays and posters do not violate existing free speech laws. Like many colleges, UNO prides itself in being a diverse and inclusive campus. Nearly all of its advertising slogans in the past few years featured diversity and inclusion slogans. Unlike many colleges, it has followed through with this promise for Maverick Students for Life.

My group has not had issues this year with getting events and our posters approved. The administration has been a huge help, but what happens when students violate their peer’s free speech?

My group hung up posters around campus in hopes of reaching out to more students. It is vital, even in COVID, to be as present as possible. Abortions do not stop when students for life groups cannot meet in person. Most of the poster boards on campus have a clear plastic cover to prevent individuals from vandalizing and tearing down posters. The poster boards in the School of Music do not have these covers. I had gotten my posters printed from the student union with the proper stamp of approval. I reached out to the admin contact at the School of Music and received permission from her to hang up posters. However, my group’s poster were hung up and gone two days later.

I hung up another poster, this time with four push pins. That poster lasted a week. I hung up a poster on all three poster boards I could. One by one, the posters disappeared.

The director of the School of Music has a great policy where anyone can reach out to him and he will help you. I emailed him, explaining that five posters total have been taken down. Since taking down approved posters does not create an inclusive environment, I asked , “What could be done?” Could an email be sent to all students requesting students to respect the posters of other groups?

While waiting for a response, I hung up one more poster. I went as far as to use eight push pins. No one should have the time to remove a poster with eight push pins.  The email to all the students requesting students not to take down the posters of student groups on campus was sent the next day. The administration did all they could down. The email and eight push pins were not enough to prevent the most recent poster from being taken down. The person who took down to poster even arranged eight the push pins in a circle on the opposite side of the poster board, almost to drive the point home that this student just did not care.

I have since put up one more poster. This has stayed up for the past two weeks. Only time will show if students at UNO will respect free speech. When a college limits free speech, legal action can be taken. When your peers violate your free speech what can you do? You must not back down. Regardless of how effective the poster actually is or how silly this issue may seem, if a new poster does not replace the old one, the pro-abortion side won. If another poster does not replace the old one, the pro-abortion side will think that they can bully, steal, and vandalize us into submission. We cannot remain silent on abortion. We cannot backdown from the smallest challenge. Enough ground has been lost by people claiming to be Pro-Life who did nothing out of fear of confrontation.

The time for action is now!

Guest post by Students for Life student member, Joshua Voogd, student at the University of Nebraska Omaha.