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Right wing takeover at Dartmouth?

Dartmouth College: Right Wing takeover?Daily Kos had a post yesterday describing an unsettling move by folks on the far-right to reassert themselves on a campus only now starting to recover from its history as a right-wing institution. The jist:

Facebook status: Expelled

Inside Higher Ed has an interesting story about a college activist who was expelled over a facebook collage.

T. Hayden Barnes opposed his university’s plan to build two large parking garages with $30 million from students’ mandatory fees. So last spring, he did what any student activist would do: He posted fliers criticizing the plan, wrote mass e-mails to students, sent letters to administrators and wrote a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper. While that kind of campaign might be enough to annoy university officials, Barnes never thought it would get him expelled.

Georgia's Valdosta State University, which has a history of clamping down on students' ability to speak out (such as their draconian and unconstitutional "free expression area"), has silenced a student who had the audacity to put up some fliers and get a little satirical with Photoshop.

Definitely read the rest of the article. It's beyond the pale what the university's rationale is.

Here's a video I grabbed from the local FOX affiliate about the controversy:

And there's a video by FIRE, a right-libertarian think tank that also looks at the larger issue of free speech at Valdosta State. FIRE is also behind the silly and distorted film "Indoctrinate U", but in this case they're on the right side of this issue, and I'm glad to see their lawyers put to good use.

This situation reminds us that administrators and students both have their own agendas, and rarely do they coincide. And when those agendas conflict, it should not be surprising to see the administration use whatever dirty tricks it can. We need to foster active student organizations on campus that fight for student power, and can organize an effective response when the administration tries to pull something like this. To learn more about what went down, you can check out Hayden's Facebook Group.

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