A university employee recently demanded a student remove a President Donald Trump sign in his dorm window, but the college ultimately upheld the student’s freedom of expression Wednesday.
“I am asking that you remove the sign within 24 hours,” said Dylan Lloyd, community director at the University of South Alabama to student William David Meredith, according to emails obtained by Campus Reform. “I have included your RA, Tiffany, on this email so that she can check to ensure it is gone within 24 hours.”
When Meredith cited his right to free speech, Lloyd said a federal building cannot display political endorsements. But the student argued he was not endorsing a political candidate — instead, he was supporting the president.
“The policy you’ve quoted pertains to political candidates, which President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are not,” Meredith alleged. “Nothing on it says anything about campaigning and his campaign is over, which makes it memorabilia not campaign material.”
The community director eventually acknowledged that point, but still demanded the sign be removed.
“While I understand that, it still shows that the university supports a particular candidate,” Lloyd remarked in response to Meredith’s observation that the campaign season is over. “While we are not actively in campaign season, Trump will run for reelection in four years. The sign makes it look like the university supports Trump as a candidate.”
Meredith again declined to remove the sign and Amanda Freyaldenhoven, assistant director of housing, scheduled him for a “Housing Judicial Conference” on Wednesday, in which the student could possibly be sanctioned.
But the university did not punish the student.
“The staff have been instructed as to the proper interpretation and application of university policy, and the student who communicated with you has been informed of the misunderstanding and that the sign is permissible,” said Michael Haskins, executive director of marketing and communications of the University of South Alabama, to Campus Reform.
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