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View Diary: Students at Boston College may face disciplinary action for distributing condoms (183 comments)

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  •  College may find themselves in a lawsuit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, schnecke21

    Seeing that it's not paid for or giving them out stamped with the college's logo on them does not give them the right to prohibit the passing out of anything.

    If they were doing this as part of something affiliated with the college then I could see the administration sticking it's nose into the matter. But it's only a bunch of students helping other students by giving out something that isn't illegal or dangerous.

    So in essence the college doesn't have much say in the matter I would say. They can stomp their feet and threaten but I don't think they can legally take any other action without being at the other end of a lawsuit. This is all about an individual's right to "freedom of speech". The speech part is an act of giving out a condom. Taking away a person's right simply because they are enrolled as a student is illegal.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:55:28 PM PDT

    •  Word is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wynter, wintergreen8694

      this senior who's feeling degraded runs a super-conservative Catholic organization that requires attending mass twice a day and wants to return to Latin. So yeah...

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:57:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this isnt a first amendment issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      athanasius, VClib, Wisper

      this is private property. this is a school enforcing its own code of conduct over students residing in dorms, on campus.

      •  Doesn't matter... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        You can complain and toss the student out if you want the bad press. But someone passing their friend a condom is simply a matter of free speech. Private property doesn't mean that you lose your rights as a citizen.

        Yes, the church run college can throw a tantrum if it wants the bad press. But Catholics in the US don't share the strict views on this like those back in Rome. They accept the real world around them and deal with it as human beings while trying to remain practicing Catholics.

        A condom isn't an illegal item, nor is it restricted in it's access to those under the age of 18. You might as well start protesting every drug store around the campus to prohibit their sale to any student. It won't work. The school needs to realize the futility of their stand.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:09:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You really don't understand the First Amendment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Wisper

          You should start by reading it.  It begins, "Congress shall make no law . . . "  That means the GOVERNMENT can't abridge your right to speech.  Private institutions and private people absolutely CAN abridge your right to free speech on their property.

          Private property doesn't mean that you lose your rights as a citizen.
          If you mean you think people have "First Amendment" rights on private property -- that's so, so, so very wrong.  You don't have a "First Amendment right" to come on my property and say whatever you want.  If I invite you to something, say a party, on my property,  and you say something I don't like -- even if it's perfectly reasonable and legal -- I can tell you to leave, and if you refuse you are trespassing and I can have you arrested.

          You have a First Amendment right to go into a public park -- government owned property -- and say to people that you do not believe in God.  You DO NOT have a First Amendment right to go into a church -- which is NOT government owned property -- and say to people that you don't believe in God.  If you try, they can have you removed from their property for that.  

          •  You and I are agreeing... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, a2nite

            They can ask you to leave. But they can't tell you what you can say. If you speak up then they can go the route of pushing you out the door. But they can't truly ban what you say. We are in agreement, but I think you missed how we got there.. lol.

            The students can give out condoms. And if the school wants to fight them then it's up to them, but it would bring a lot of bad press is what I am saying.

            The college needs to be very mindful of how it looks. Catholics are not all hardline follow the church in Rome of else. Attitudes inside the US have created a chasm between the two sides. Trying to be more strict could backfire on admissions.

            "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

            by Wynter on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:30:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's where we disagree (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Whatithink, Bailey2001, VClib

              You are saying that it's "actionable" or that there can be a "lawsuit" over a private school telling students what they can or cannot say on school grounds.

              That is just flat out wrong.  (I'm a lawyer, by the way.)

              •  And as a lawyer... (0+ / 0-)

                what action can the school take? Only one thing... break the contract.

                The fact remains that you cannot "make" anyone say or not say what you what. Isn't that true? Individuals are not automatons. You cannot force someone to act a specific way unless they agree to do so. The college can insist they abide by the agreed upon contract, but that's all they can do. They cannot force a student to do something they are unwilling to do or say.

                We are saying the same things, but you are simply stating it from a different point of view. The "actionable" term was a bit overstated, my apologies. I backed away from that point a few comments back if you recall. The end result is "yes" the school can go hardline on their students, but at a cost to their reputation in the eyes of the public. The issue doesn't reflect the views of the majority of Catholics in the US. That was the point I ended with.

                "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

                by Wynter on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 12:16:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Wynter - you have an incorrect view of the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wisper

              First Amendment. It isn't an issue here.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:44:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The First Amendment doesn't work that way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Wisper
    •  You do not enjoy freedom of speech... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Bailey2001, VClib, Wisper

      ... on private property. Period. You are on private property only by permission of the owner, and the owner is absolutely free to condition said permission on a code of conduct dictating, frankly, whatever they like, as long as the actions in question are themselves not illegal.

      A lawsuit would fall flat on its face at the first hearing.

      •  You really interpret things oddly... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Wisper

        Private property doesn't have the kind of power you think it does.

        Yes, the owner of the property can insist on certain actions that cannot take place with the result only being that you have to leave. That's it...

        They cannot tell you that you can't speak if that speech is not illegal in any way. Attempting to squelch someone's other rights while on someone's private property can be actionable if it is done wrong. You can prohibit firearms from being brought onto your property. But allowing someone to use a firearm in a manner that breaks the law is illegal. This is a rough example I know. But in essence the law still stands even on private property. Denying someone their rights even on private property is actionable. The owner of the property can only do one thing.. ask them to leave.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:18:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then you agree. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Bailey2001

          If you go back and read my original comment, you'll see that I did not suggest any mechanism by which the owner might prevent the exercise of rights other than the denial of continued permission to be on the property.

          For example, if the university were threatening to tie the students up and cover their mouths with duct tape, then yes, that would obviously be illegal.

          But employing disciplinary measures to prevent them from distributing condoms on campus, which is their property? Completely legit, just as it would be were a guest at my house to start distributing condoms and I asked them to apologise or what-have-you.

        •  Try screaming your head off in Macy's and see (2+ / 0-)
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          coffeetalk, Wisper

          if they don't arrest you for screaming your head off.  That's all you have to do is stand perfectly still and start screaming.  You can even just try a good curse word and repeat it over and over again in a normal tone of voice...see how that would work.  I guarantee the guys in blue will be there shortly to tell you all about the first amendment and how it doesn't apply.

          They will ask you once (maybe) to stop and then off to jail you go or if you are lucky they will just write you a disturbing the peace citation and make you pay a fine.

        •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

          You should fund their legal case then.  You will need to schedule a lot of meetings with the attorney though because your interpretation of "rights" and what is "actionable" has absolutely no resemblance to what they teach in law school.

          You're going to need to teach the lawyer how your laws work because they don't work like ours.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 11:45:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh. One more time. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Wisper, Bailey2001

      You have no "freedom of speech" on someone else's property when you are there with their permission.  

      "Freedom of speech" only applies to the government.  "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."  Students have First Amendment rights at a PUBLIC institution, because a public institution is run by the government.  At a private institution, religious or not, students have no "First Amendment" rights.  At a private institution, the school can prevent students from speech that the government clearly could not prevent.  If Harvard, or Stanford, or USC, or BC wants to say, "You can't pass out pamphlets promoting religion, or atheism, or socialism, or whatever," they can do that.  Because it's their privately owned institution.  They have a contract with the student, where the student pays money in exchange for certain things.  But part of that contract is that the student has to obey the institution's rules, or the institution can discipline the student.  The student has no "First Amendment right" to violate the rules of a privately owned institution.  

      •  You are citing efforts that contradict the school (0+ / 0-)

        ..in an open manner. We are not talking about "fighting" what the school teaches. These students aren't in the main square of the college contradicting the tenets of the schools teachings.

        And in the end, the only thing the school can do is expel the students thus breaking the contract. We do not lose our rights as citizens. We do have to abide by our contracts we make. But if those contracts go beyond the bounds of religion and try to infringe on our rights in other areas they might be opening up a hornet's nest if they fight it in court.

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:23:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't understand the First Amendment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jaym, VClib, Wisper

          at all.

          Here's an example.  I'm in New Orleans.  We generally hate the Atlanta Falcons.  I can make a rule in my house that anybody who says the word "falcon" cannot come in my home.  That's my complete right.  If I invite you to a party for the whole neighborhood in my house and you say "falcon," i can tell you to leave, and if you don't, I can have you arrested for trespassing.

          And you know what?  Loyola University here in New Orleans can do the exact same thing if they want.  They can say, if you display Atlanta Falcons stuff in your dorm room, you will be kicked out of the dorm.  It may be really stupid, it may lose them some students, but they have every right to do that.  The students don't have some "First Amendment" right to display Atlanta Falcons stuff on someone else's private property.  

          The school told the students that openly distributing condoms out of the school's dorm room violated the school's policy and they should stop.  The students refused to stop.  There is no "right" of students to keep violating the school's policy.  

          •  I don't understand (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, coffeetalk, Wisper

            Why this isn't self-evident. You can completely disagree with the stance of the school's administration, while at the same time recognizing that it is their right to take this stance.

            Despite being conservative Catholic university, the student body, as well as the faculty and staff, are an extremely diverse group where politics and religion is concerned, and wide swaths of the BC community disagree with the administration's policies in this matter. And I think it's healthy for them to debate it, and healthy for them to oppose it, and even to protest it. But at the end of the day there is simply no way around the fact that it's BC's house, and BC's rules.

        •  That makes ZERO sense (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bailey2001

          as in NONE.  At all.

          These students have no case.  At all.  The school would win on the first motion to dismiss.  All a lawsuit is going to do is waste more money and officially recognize the school as being in the right.

          Because they are.

          You have this weird interpretation of the 1st Amendment that equates to no one is ever allowed to tell anyone they can't do something.  This is nowhere close to accurate... nor has it ever been in US history.  Nor should it.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 11:42:44 AM PDT

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      •  I like "Sigh. One More Time." I feel this way (0+ / 0-)

        often....in my classroom and out.  :)

    •  This is private property and there will be no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Wisper

      lawsuit that would end up in a win for the students.  They do not have to have a reason, they can simply say "no, not here on this property....if you do not like it, pack your bags and leave."

      Freedom of speech is only protected from interference of the government.  There is no freedom of speech in a private residence, business or school....unless said owner grants them.   You can only claim your rights if they are infringed by the government.

       If you come to my home and I forbid you to speak...you can do as I ask or leave at anytime you wish or leave when I direct you to do so, but you can not sue me because I refused to allow you to speak in my home.

      Again, this school is a private Catholic university.

    •  Wynter - BC is on solid legal ground (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wisper

      If there is a lawsuit the College will win. There are no First Amendment issues here. The First Amendment is a restriction on government and has nothing to do with private universities.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:42:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wynter - if there is a lawsuit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wisper, Bailey2001

      BC will win at summary judgement. The college is on very solid legal ground.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 09:55:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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