Second, the statement maintains that the university understood the posters to be threats. As for the first poster, when you read it and think about it for even a minute it’s clear that it was the opposite of a threat (here is a little more about the context of the quote). So, this claim is possibly true if university officials can’t actually think clearly, but it’s totally unreasonable. As for the second poster, you will never convince me that anyone actually understood it as anything other than criticism of the school’s handling of the first poster. That was both clear and completely obvious, and deeming the poster a threat was a cynical post-hoc justification to justify censoring criticism. And contrary to this explanation, those in charge using their power to stifle criticism of themselves is the very heart of censorship.
Finally, while I am excited to see the school offering to educate the community about the First Amendment, it is not the university community that needs educating. It is Sorensen, Police Chief Lisa A. Walter, and their fellow administrators who need it.
But let’s not dwell on the negative for too long. This week is a good one for free speech on campus. I am not sure the school would have backed down if not for the help of some of my heroes, including Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Neil Gaiman, who helped spread the word about the case. But most of all this victory over administrative overreach would not have been possible without the impassioned support of Firefly fans everywhere. You guys won this.
So, my fellow Browncoats, we have defended free speech on campus. I propose we now move to step two of our planetary improvement plan and get the series back in production! (A nerd can dream, can’t he?)
Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.