Tramp, tramp, tramp the students are marching. D-Hall in Bentonville going to be HUGE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tramp, tramp, tramp the students are marching. D-Hall in Bentonville going to be HUGE

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 9:50 AM

click to enlarge ON THE MARCH: Students outside the White House. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • ON THE MARCH: Students outside the White House.
Get yourself on social media. And if you don't know how, find a teenager to help you. Then check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all the rest for the outpouring of marching students all over the U.S.

Places like Bentonville and the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and the Arts have their rules. Marchers will be punished for demonstrating to end gun violence. But they are marching anyway.

PS: A University of Arkansas employee asks that I provide more context to the statement by Corey Alderdice, director of ASMSA, who said 1) this was political and 2) teachers couldn't participate in political activities as employees of a UA campus.

1) Is memorializing the slaying of 17 children a "political" activity?"

2) About rules.  The employee provides a recapitulation of a memo sent to UA staff last year, with comment.

“University employees, as citizens, have the right to engage in political activity. However, university employees are not allowed to engage in political activities during usual office hours (generally considered as 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or use University communication devices or University signatures.”

The cited policies do not ban political activity from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but rather instruct employees to “do so on your own time, outside of working hours or when you are on annual leave or leave without pay, and you must maintain appropriate supporting records.” Employee Handbook 9.6. The blocked time (8-5, presumably Monday-Friday) would add up to 45 hours, which would suggest that our classified employees are barred from pursuing political activities outside their compensated hours.

B. Barred activities include “communicating personal thoughts or opinions about pending legislation”

The email provides: “Political activities can include running for office, working on a campaign, communicating personal thoughts or opinions about pending legislation and other forms of political advocacy.”

The cited policies do not describe "communicating personal thoughts or opinions about pending legislation and other forms of political advocacy" as a political activity. BOT Policy 465.1 provides these examples of political activities:

• campaigning for a candidate for office,
• circulating petitions,
• coercing public employees to campaign for a candidate,
• using publicly-funded rooms (unless others also can use those rooms for such purposes),
• using materials funded by public funds to campaign for office,
• coercing public employees to give contributions for political purposes, or
• putting campaign materials on University vehicles.

(These are summaries. Longer descriptions are in the policy.) UAF Policy 9.6 seems largely derived from BOT Policy 465.1. Policy 9.7 and Policy 3.11 provide that employees should not speak on behalf of the university to elected officials, but notes that employees retain “the right to exercise freedom of expression on legislative matters.” Policy 3.10 (for faculty service) is more specific about what happens if an employee runs for office. These policies do not describe “communicating personal thoughts or opinions about pending legislation and other forms of political advocacy” as barred political activity.
The issue is simple. Thinking and free expression are good things. A preference for order in the face of them isn't a sparkling reference for educators and school board members.

40/29 has this report of the unauthorized protest by Bentonville hooligans. Open their link and you can then say their video of the huge crowd.

Students were allowed to demonstrate at Little Rock Central.

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
From Fayetteville:

In Fayetteville, the students marched through downtown with police escort. I've seen photos from Russellville and Conway.

About 70 students walked out at ASMSA, despite a promise of punishment from the school director in a note that also seemed to devalue the worth of such demonstrations.  School director Alderdice was prompted to issue some ameliorating words today:

My decision to uphold ASMSA’s expectations affords students the opportunity to reflect on their values and priorities. Enforcing a low-level sanction for an unexcused absence was never intended to stifle participation but to provide a framework for the realities of engaging in civil disobedience both now and in adulthood. Taking a stand often involves some level of risk and consequence. ASMSA is a place where learning is not only measured by success in the classroom but also in personal growth. I commend students who chose solidarity with their peers across the nation and who use all tools of civic engagement available to them.
click to enlarge AT ASMSA - SAVANNAH JAMES
  • Savannah James
  • AT ASMSA

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