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News ::
Penn State Administrators Threaten to Censor LGBT Event
21 Mar 2001
University officials indicated that they would prohibit the student run event from happening at the university
Penn State Allies, a student group that supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community at the university has been told by Penn State officials that their event about safe sex is not welcomed at the university.

Citing legal precedent, independent observers suggest any action by the administration to censor these events may very well be a violation of the students' First Amendment rights.

Associate professor Robert Richards and assistant professor Clay Calvert, Directors of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, stated at a recent appropriations hearing that the content of similar events in the past would have been protected as constitutionally protected speech.

They said a university is a "marketplace of ideas" and that the First Amendment ensures that the government is prohibited from limiting speech even though it may be offensive to some people.

However, Penn State officials are not seeing it that way.

"I believe the LGBTA organizations need to make the call on this program. You need to look for a win-win alternative. It's not going to happen the way it's set up," said Terrell Jones, Vice Provost for Educational Equity, referring to the name of the proposed program and nature of some of the events.

"They'll (the administration) say it's lewd," he added.

Jenn Dumin, an organizer of the Safe Sex Cabaret laments the recent threats made by the administration.

"I am almost ashamed to admit I am student at a university that would take such repressive actions against its students. All we ever wanted to do was help educate students about safe sex," said Dumin.

Organizers are asking concerned citizens and students from other universities to contact the President of Penn State University (gspanier (at) psu.edu) in support of the event.

"We are looking for support from anywhere we can find it," added Dumin.
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