As students at the University of South Dakota, citizens of South Dakota and the United States of America, it is generally assumed we always have the right to say what we want, when we want and where we want to.
But it seems that’s not the case here at USD.
Anyone who desires to protest or demonstrate must fill out a form and make reservations for one of the few locations available to be on campus three days prior to their event.
Officials say this policy is in place to respect people’s freedoms without it getting in the way of others’ rights.
As stated in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, our freedom of speech and the right to assemble are two of our five fundamental rights.
At an institution so revered and a place in which the freedom of speech is encouraged among students, it seems absurd that the university would place policies before us that put limits on this.
What is understandable is that all state and federal laws must be observed.
The university also requires that people must host the events at a reasonable time, place and manner, in accordance with the policy, so no one has the right to choose any time they want to host it.
The protest and demonstration policy of Dakota State University and South Dakota State University are similar to that of USD’s in that students must fill out a form to reserve a place at least three days before the planned event.
Black Hills State University, however, does not have set locations for protestors, and they only have to inform administration of the activity 48 hours in advance. There was no mention of filling out a form or showing the demonstrative materials to someone authorized to give the OK.
Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition — our freedom of expression is created with the building blocks of so many other rights we count on today.
It is entirely contradictory when we are in a space that welcomes free speech, yet there are limits to that statement.
It’s outlandish that we would be required to have the university look over our documents and protesting materials before actually carrying out our right to assemble.
In light of what is happening around the country because of the Michael Brown incident, students should not to feel any more burdened in expressing their views and opinions.