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The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

Are University Students Having their First Amendment Right Violated?

Photo by REUTERS
Signs are displayed in front of Deering Meadow, where an encampment of students are protesting in support of Palestinians, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, at Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois

The Israel-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing since 2006 with five wars during that time period. Now, the 7 month war (starting October 7th) has brought a whole new level of violence that has been taking the world by storm. Just recently, the conflict has managed to invade universities across the United States, erupting with protests against the war and the genocide against the Palestinians. Now the question that Americans must face is, is this an invasion of citizens’ First Amendment right to freedom of protest?

At the University of Arizona on Thursday, May 9th, 2024, students gathered to protest near the Main Gate Square just one day before their commencement ceremony. Shortly after, police fired tear gas at the students, arrested two of them, and tore down the encampment made by the protesters.

The University of Arizona President Robert Robbins enforced the “policy to remove an unauthorized encampment” and stated, “I know that this decision may provoke strong opinions and perhaps questions.” Now, the protesters were using foul language and were reportedly resisting to leave the area, but that was all it took to be harmed and arrested by police forces.

At MIT, police gave students 15 minutes to disperse and leave the protesting scene as they circled the area in combat gear. Eventually, 10 students were arrested after deciding to stand their ground and protest against the violence against Palestinian people. The students did not resist arrest and went peacefully, but took to social media to share their thoughts on the aftermath of their protest.

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So now the question is, are the police invading students’ First Amendment right to be able to protest? From the looks of the incident, none of the students were harming anyone around them, nor were they damaging property on the campus. It is stated in the First Amendment that people have the right to peacefully protest and to petition the government. The students at these universities are protesting for the protection of Palestinian people, and to end the support for the Israeli government. Now whether the American government agrees with that statement or not does not give them a right to silence the voices of others who have different beliefs.

Mr. Perman, a history teacher at ADM High School, was asked about his thoughts on the First Amendment rights and stated, “I think you have the right to protest and have the right to peacefully organize for any social or political cause or any human rights cause. Yeah, you have the right to be vocal about that as long as these things don’t turn violent. Obviously, you can’t destroy university property.”

While America is currently offering aid to Palestinians, there are plenty of companies and organizations such as Starbucks and McDonald’s who support and are aiding Israel during this conflict. Many college students are voicing their opinions, but are facing the consequences because of their opinions. But the protests are not done. MIT’s Coalition Against Apartheid on social media stated, “You cannot suspend the movement. We will be back.”

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