This week the ACLU, after a request by the Student Government Association, sent a letter to Residence Director Edward Hull challenging the constitutionality of the University’s residence hall solicitation policy. The policy prohibits students and RSO’s from advertising or campaigning door-to-door; according to Northampton ACLU head Bill Newman, the vagueness, possibility of discriminatory enforcement, and presence of prior restraint of speech in the policy violate the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution. The policy is currently under review by a panel that includes SGA representatives, and the administration has declined to comment on possible changes until it receives the panel’s recommendations. Members of the SGA have attacked the policy in meetings this week, while Hull was dismissive towards the challenge, saying that “claiming something is unconstitutional doesn’t mean it is.”
The Collegian continued its coverage of Tyler Molander, the UMass student who was interviewed by policy and asked to leave the university following his distribution of a letter in several dorms that some students found threatening. Molander sat down with the Collegian for an exclusive in-person interview, where he discussed the reasons for his decision to try to start a “friend club” at UMass and the details of his interactions with the administration. Molander said on Sunday that he will not try to rejoin the university due to the amount of class he has missed since going home following the controversy.
UMass professors and International Programs Office officials are warning students to avoid studying abroad in Egypt, which is in the the midst of an ongoing democratic transition that has erupted in sporadic violence and arrests following last February’s ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. A sustained street protest and eventual international outcry led to Mubarak’s resignation and was a victory for the series of Middle Eastern and North African democratizing protest movements that have become known as the Arab Spring. However, power still rests in the hands of military authorities, and IPO Director of Education Abroad Dr. Erika Schluntz urged students to go to other, more stable countries if they wish to learn Arabic or study in the Middle East.
Dan Glaun can be reached for comment at [email protected]