College Denies Student's Right to Free Speech
So, I know that high school students have been denied some of their basic rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. In recent court cases, it was decided that high school journalists who write for their school newspaper can be censored by a teacher or principal in order to make sure that their views are in agreement with the views of the school and are appropriate. This decision was based on the fact that these journalists are under the age of 18 and therefore do not have the absolute rights guaranteed to American citizens by the U.S. Constitution. But now, it’s a college student who is being prosecuted by his college for exercising his right to free speech.
John Gechter, a 22-year-old student from Philadelphia, was suspended from Grove City College because another student saw an adult film he acted in. Gechter is arguing the suspension; he claims it is unfair because it is not the school’s business what he does with his spare time. He even used a fake name in the film so as not to embarrass anyone who knows him.
What I want to know is how can a college suspend a student for practicing his constitutionally protected rights of self-expression? I can almost understand why underage high school students are not guaranteed all of the rights that American adults are guaranteed under the Constitution. However, it makes absolutely no sense to me why Gechter is being prosecuted.
The 1st Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” If Congress will not prohibit free speech, which includes the production of adult films, then why can Grove City College punish Gechter? I am usually a very moderate person, but I hold the protection of free speech very close to my heart. (I’m an advertising major who writes blogs expressing my opinion. Of course the 1st Amendment is important to me.) I think that Grove City College should readmit Gechter immediately and make a public apology for all grievances he has suffered. But, hey, that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?