Speaking of the First Amendment — and Hogs | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Speaking of the First Amendment — and Hogs

Posted By on Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 6:32 AM

It's a lovely day for football and the Hog message boards are lit up with excitement about the promising season.

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But there's no joy in Hogville about word of a university crackdown on advertising banners at tailgate parties. No commercial messages will be allowed, in deference to the Hog's multi-million-dollar deal that sold all marketing opportunities to a private company. The comment thread, however, suggests banners for the likes of the Hogville.net community won't be allowed either.

Given the high-dollar UA marketing contract, I can understand the efforts to limit commercial signage on hallowed Hog ground. But I just don't see how a public university can — or would even if it could — impose restrictions on political speech on public land. But the Hogs do. From the various rules of conduct:

• Political signage that implies endorsement of any political candidate or any political issue may not be displayed nor may political materials be distributed without prior approval by The University of Arkansas.

That's just wrong. I hope the War Memorial Stadium commissioners and the city of Little Rock answer to a higher calling on their parking lots — i.e., the First Amendment.

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