The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 23rd

Letters: KKK still has a right to First Amendment


Regarding a 1975 campus invitation to former KKK leader David Duke, political science major Andrew Brennen writes “Does Arthur Pope still believe the KKK have a legitimate claim to first amendment protection when they speak and recruit students at campus sponsored events?”

As a long-time member of the ACLU, I certainly believe that they do.  

Perhaps, after a few more political science courses, Brennen will have learned more about the meaning of the First Amendment. 

It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Furthermore, the Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments; the University is included as an agency of the state government.  

The First Amendment does not have an exception for speech that Brennen or others may find objectionable.  

The Chancellor recently issued a statement about the University’s obligations under the First Amendment.

I guess that Brennen missed it.

Prof. Elliot Cramer


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