Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Student Rights Suspended Indefinitely
Student protestors on Saturday found that their free speech rights had been suspended indefinitely.
TROY, N.Y. - April 9, 2016 - PRLog -- Free speech on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been officially suspended, according to statements made by RPI Public Safety officers. Students supporting the Rensselaer "Save the Union" movement woke up Saturday morning to find that they no longer had the right to poster on campus.
The officers told supporters that the act of postering would be considered off-limits and that the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities had been suspended (audio and transcript - RPITV Coverage).
The Handbook is a document from the school's Board of Trustees guaranteeing traditional constitutional freedoms on campus and establishing norms for student behaviors. Prior to 2015, students played a substantial role in the document's editing and approval, but have since been removed from the process. Recent versions of the document have been published without any student input.
RPI has never been known for its commitment to campus freedom, and for many years, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has considered the Institute a "red"-rated school. Other reports include that peaceful student protest requests have been rejected and students and faculty have been retaliated against for their political views. There is what many call a "culture of fear" perpetuated on campus.
RPI has also been actively censoring student media. In addition to the prohibition of RPI TV from recording numerous campus events in past weeks, several thousand issues of RPI's student newspaper and their stands were removed from campus.
Following a protest on March 30 that drew an estimated 1,000 students and faculty members, RPI administrators have moved to smother the student narrative. Protesters voiced their concerns about the destruction of students' governance of their Union and recent negative attention from the Department of Education and the press.
The students' present grievances began with their gradual removal from the operation of the Rensselaer Union building and organization, an entity student-run since 1890. Recent administrative actions have removed student input from the rules that govern them, taken away their say in athletics funding, deprived them of appointing the Union's director, and generally removed them from the operations of their building and input on campus policy.
These actions have begun to be seen as part of a larger effort to stifle dissent or independent thinking on campus.
About the Rensselaer Union
The Rensselaer Union recently celebrated its 125th anniversary as a student-run union after being founded in 1890. It is one of one of the few student-run unions in America and is funded by a tax that student representatives draft and approve each year. For more information about the Union and student governance issues, please visit http://www.savetheunion.xyz.