Banned from Keene State College for “Free” Speech + Officer Jason Short Sees the Light on Drug War Hypocrisy?

For years I have been doing outreach at Keene State College. This normally consists of handing out fliers on campus, especially during class changes. Only this year did I ever encounter any trouble from campus security, when they threatened me with a no trespass order if I were to continue handing out information. Upon visiting with one of the college directors in his office, I inquired regarding their policy. I was told that not even KSC students may hand out fliers on campus! I was informed that I could have a table in the student center, just like the students can have. I would be allowed to sit behind the table, quietly, and only interact with people who came up to speak to me.

This was unacceptable to me. It’s highly ineffective. Why sit at a table all day or even for a few hours, when my friends and I can deliver hundreds of fliers in fifteen minutes during class change? Besides, aren’t college campuses advertised as the holy grail of free speech? What a bunch of nonsense.

So, last week on Thursday, I returned to the campus with new mover Daryl Perry. Since I had no fliers to promote the 420 celebration happening at the Concord state house the following day, I brought along a megaphone. We walked around during a class change and I called out invitations to the students to join us for 4/20. The messages were well received by the students, as they always are.

However, after about fifteen minutes, college security officers were headed our way. They ran us off-campus and then Daryl was pulled over by Keene Police’s Jason Short on the way home. Here is video of that interaction, complete with an “aha” moment as Jason connects the dots on the irony of his smoking a cigar while helping cage other peaceful drug users (just like him) in his role as a detective and enforcer for the NH drug task force. (He is inquiring at the time about his entry on the Keene Police Fanpage on facebook, which has a photo of him smoking a cigar.)

By the way, Darryl never touched the megaphone or handed out fliers. He’d never been to the campus before. He was also given a 1-year no trespass notice!

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13 Comments

  1. And still not a single person has challenged one of these no-trespass orders in court, right?

  2. And still not a single person has challenged one of these no-trespass orders in court, right?

  3. Yeah, no one knows how.

  4. I’ll help you with that appeal letter Ian.

    I’ve had two really great conversations with him, and in my opinion Sergeant Short is awesome.

  5.  I saw you talking to him in court one day…seemed like you  had a good rapport with him that was cool   (imho)

  6. Keene State College is not a “traditional Public Forum” which would allow you the ability to walk around with a megaphone or what not. It functions as a Non-public forum unless you are given permission (by the school) to have a demonstration or function on the property. Students are given more freedoms of speech than the general public, so if you want to distribute information on campus, to students, find a student organization to assist you.

  7. I admit, I’m unaware of the particularities of this case, legal and otherwise, but this seems like a rather strange mentality I’m reading.  Universities/Colleges are the quintessential legal ‘traditional’ public forum, and have been for over two thousand years in western civilization.  Even in countries where freedom-of-speech is limited, university space is given proprietary sanction for bombastic and illicit speech. In my limited experience, all the insane preachers, abortion protesters with giant signs of dead fetuses, and orange jump-suited black hooded ‘look at me I’m a Gitmo detainee’ activism I’ve seen has been on college campuses.  I’m assuming the only reason such a rule could stand, is that KSC is so small and unimportant that a pack of wild ACLU lawyers just hasn’t bothered to rip it to shreds yet.

  8. FYI, not all classes change at the same time. It’s aggravating enough to read/study/test with a heavy breather in the room, let alone a man yelling through a megaphone.

  9. “Besides, aren’t college campuses advertised as the holy grail of free speech?”
    I think that is supposed to be one of the main uses of Central Square.

  10. Megaphones aren’t really that loud, Josh, especially to someone indoors.  Besides, this wasn’t about the megaphone – if it were, they would not have issued a no trespass to Darryl, who never touched the megaphone.  In fact, he’d never been on campus before.

  11. freespeech is the right to say whatever you like and /the government/ can’t stop you…technically its not even the right to be heard let alone to “say whatever i like wherever i like and you have to let me” private property, websites, ect can and do have the right to kick people off and “but mah rights FIRST AMENDMENT BRO!” don’t even begin to enter into it.

  12. because they have no real grounds to do it. 9_9 its private property and brobro here is functionally identical to some random adult creeper hanging out on campus chatting up students. free speech means the government can’t stop you not that you can hand out fliers on private property

  13. these kids are trying to go to class(Expensive as FUCK classes btw) so they can have a good leg up on succeeding at life…if some random jackass(not even a student, just some guy) is blundering around shouting into a megaphone and being an obstacle to this you don’t expect him to be asked to leave for the sake of their customers? or that the majority of students would appreciate the school protecting their interests by doing so?

    “Besides, aren’t college campuses advertised as the holy grail of free speech?”
    well if it was KEENE STATE STUDENTS its one thing…. (but even then theres some limits, lol)

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