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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 6, 2009

STUDENT LOSES FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS BY DISCUSSING SECOND AMENDMENT

Phil Leggiere, Don't Tase Me Bro -A Central Connecticut College student's class presentation, supporting the idea of "free gun zones" on campus, gets him reported to police by professor. For CCSU student John Wahlberg, a class presentation on campus violence turned into a confrontation with the campus police due to a complaint by the professor.

Wahlberg and two other classmates prepared to give an oral presentation for a Communication 140 class that was required to discuss a "relevant issue in the media". Wahlberg and his group chose to discuss school violence due to recent events such as the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred in 2007.

Shortly after his professor, Paula Anderson, filed a complaint with the CCSU Police against her student. During the presentation Wahlberg made the point that if students were permitted to conceal carry guns on campus, the violence could have been stopped earlier in many of these cases. He also touched on the controversial idea of free gun zones on college campuses.

That night at work, Wahlberg received a message stating that the campus police "requested his presence". Upon entering the police station, the officers began to list off firearms that were registered under his name, and questioned him about where he kept them.

They told Wahlberg that they had received a complaint from his professor that his presentation was making students feel "scared and uncomfortable".

"I was a bit nervous when I walked into the police station," Wahlberg said, "but I felt a general sense of disbelief once the officer actually began to list the firearms registered in my name. I was never worried however, because as a law-abiding gun owner, I have a thorough understanding of state gun laws as well as unwavering safety practices."

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wait a minute - I don't see that he lost any of his first amendment right as the headline says...and I don't think the teacher and campus cops should be villified for conducting an interview to better gauge the student's mindset on this matter. No, I'm not advocating for opressive police state tactics, but aren't we aware that clues were ignored in cases of student muderers before?

the situation doesn't seem to me to be quite as simple as it sounds here...

March 7, 2009 8:59 AM  
Anonymous John Duray said...

Anonymous, do you actually believe that police interrogation of a student based on the topic of a class presentation won't have a chilling effect on most students' freedom of speech? Granted that Mr. Wahlberg doesn't appear to be deterred, but what "lesson" did other students in the class learn from this episode?

If you fail to see the point, substitute some other content and see how it plays. Would your reaction be the same if the subject of the presentation had been the 14th amendment rather than the 2nd?

March 9, 2009 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a cut and dry case of unnecessary police harassment. He was not advocating violence, which is the only time something of this nature is warranted. So long as the expression of one's ideas does not impede or endanger the rights of others than the government in no way can harass or punish you for it.

March 10, 2009 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know what fuck all of you guys you cant even help me

March 12, 2009 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that this is simply police harassment and indeed a first amendment rights violation. Unless he threatened someone this was going way to far. However, this kind of behaviour is hardly surprising from CCSU. Although this is a bit off topic reports of warping at will employee rights because they voice their opinions are starting to seep out of the community as well. Just check out their review on JobVent from an at will employee. It sounds like CT universities are getting closer and closer to fascist states, just like the rest of the country. I guess we can use the excuse of the bad economy now, or the excuse of tension caused by Virginia Tech in this case, but an attack on one person's rights is an attack on all of our rights. We expect our universities to have higher standards especially during rough times.

March 18, 2009 6:34 PM  

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