It was a grim joke during my time at the University of Alabama that we only ever got in the news for football and racism–because of our revolving door policy on coaches and such lovely incidents as parties at sorority houses involving girls in black-face respectively.
Now it appears that UA’s going to add another negative category: suppressing speech.
So, the story would seem to be that some student decided to stick a confederate battle flag in his window. Whatever your feelings about the conflict of 1861-1865, whether you call it the Civil War or the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression–and I have to say that, over time I have come to believe that the third construction may not be that far from the truth, however much I am disgusted by what the South was fighting to preserve–you have to be an idiot to not realize that the flag has been appropriated by racist bigots as their symbol. To display it, whatever your motivation, is *at least* impolite.
Oh, well, so much for Southern manners.
Anyway, this would have been bad enough–being yet another score in the second category of the title–but the University decided, in response, that they would arbitrarily ban all window displays.
So a bunch of other students put the stars-and-bars in their windows as a protest. Which apparently led some dolt on the Volokh Conspiracy “to assert that they were prohibiting the display of American flags on campus”:http://volokh.com/posts/1109629158.shtml, which is, at least, a misstatement of the situation.
Me? I wonder who the protesters were. I’d like to think that this is just sort of Molotov cocktail that would be lobbed by the “Mallet Assembly”:http://www.mallet-assembly.org/, an organization to which I belonged (and for which I still do stuff, like hosting a few mailing list and maintaining a domain registration), because I think they’d do it for the right reasons.
But you never know.