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View Diary: Boston College: Students must stop dispensing condoms (65 comments)

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  •  Because it is a private institution. (2+ / 0-)
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    Bailey2001, VClib

    The students have no First Amendment rights -- no rights of any kind, really -- to publicly disagree with the principles of a private institution and remain students of that private institution.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  

    It is no different from my private home.  In public, for example, the government cannot stop a person from talking about his religious views.  In my private home, I can say, anyone who mentions God is out of here.  And I can do it, because nothing in the First Amendment prohibits what speech and ideas I allow in my private home. I can have "freedom from disagreement" in my private home if I want it.  In my private home, I can even promote bigoted views if I were so inclined, and have freedom from disagreement.  I can say, anyone who thinks that Asians are equal to other races cannot enter my home, and if you say anything like that, you must leave.  If I have a party and invite the whole block, and 30 minutes into the party at my house, someone says, I think Asian Americans should have equal rights with all Americans, I can say, "Get out," and if they don't leave immediately they are trespassing.  I can have freedom from disagreement in my home.  

    With respect to a privately-owned business the exact same principle applies.  The ONLY  limitation that is different is the federal (and state) civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on things like race, ethnicity, etc.  In most states, for example, I can, in my privately-owned business, say "I will not tolerate any talk or signs or whatever promoting conservative candidates" because it's my property, my business, my rules about what views are allowed there.  Here in New Orleans, I can say, "I will not tolerate people talking bad about the New Orleans Saints, and if you do, I will fire you."  I can do that, because there are no civil rights laws protecting football opinions, and absent that, I get to completely control the views I want in my business. I certainly, certainly can have "Freedom from disagreement" as long as I don't infringe on the civil rights (or labor) laws.  

    It's the same with a religious university.  The only difference is that they have more protection from the government than you or I do because the First Amendment guarantees that the government won't interfere with the free exercise of their religious views.  There is no such special governmental protection for my football views in my business.  If you undermine the principles of a religious institution and they ask you to leave, they may have to give your tuition back (depending on what your contract says).  But certainly they can tell you to leave if you are undermining their religious mission.  There is no obligation for them to tolerate disagreement that undermines the fundamental purpose of their private institution.

    So yes, in a private institution, if the institution wants "Freedom from disagreement" they can do it.  If you don't agree with how they are running their private institution, you are free not to go there.  

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