Response to FIRE from Bucknell General Counsel Wayne Bromfield by thefire


									Office of the General Counsel
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 17837
Phone: 570-577-1149
FAX: 570-577-7583
January 18,2010
Mr. Robert L. Shibley, Vice President
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106
RE: Bucknell University Conservatives Club and FIRE's Red Alert List
Mr. Shibley:
I write on behalf of President Mitchell in response to your January 7, 2010 letter. The letter, as you well
know, grossly misrepresents the facts. Despite your self-described role in defining the "moral and legal
obligations" of others, you have abused the truth in this letter to an exceptional degree even for you.
First, Bucknell has never prohibited, in your words, "unfettered debate of controversial issues—such as
affirmative action—on public areas of its campus." As you are well aware, having chosen to opine
effusively on this matter, the event you are referencing occurred on the University's private property.
Second, you invent another non-existent controversy by claiming that "Bucknell must also reverse its
decision barring controversial political speech—including the Bucknell University Conservatives Club's
'affirmative action bake sale'—from the public areas of campus." As you seem to know well based on
your multiple and redundant letters to us, Bucknell halted the spring 2009 event that included protest
dollars because it (a) was occurring on the University's private property, and (b) was interfering with the
safe flow of students through the student center. Even as we halted it for these reasons, we encouraged the
students to register the event and proceed with it under normal allowances. The students made no such
request. We prohibited the bake sales because the events discriminated against students, and because the
sales were to be conducted by a student organization that by their own admissions misrepresented the
event in filing for permission to hold the events, using the very same forms that every other student
organization at Bucknell somehow manages to fill out honestly and accurately. It is disappointing that
you invent facts, but that seems to be the only way you can justify your requests that we make an
exception for the BUCC in how they treat others, in the safe use of private property, and in what students
learn about working honestly with staff.
Third, you invent another straw man with this additional misrepresentation of the facts, "Bucknell must
also clarify that its recently enacted 'Sales and Promotions' policy will not require prior approval for
activities (such as the distribution of 'Obama stimulus dollars') that would constitute protected expression .
on a public campus." You know as well as we do that the "Sales and Promotions Policy" is not new. In
Mr. Robert L. Shibley
RE: Bucknell University Conservatives Club
January 18, 2010
Page 2 of 2
fact you cited that policy in your first letter of May 21 under its prior name, the "Sales and Solicitation
Policy." You also know as well as we do that Bucknell is a private institution and not a public campus.
If you would like to have a serious and honest discussion about freedom of speech and Constitutional
Rights, notably as they pertain to private colleges and universities, it would be worth having the meeting
you discuss. But nothing you have contributed to this discussion thus far demonstrates anything more
than your intentions to continue to abuse the truth for cynical purposes. It is no credit to you that you have
chosen to explore otherwise serious matters in this way.
Wayne Biwifield
General Counsel

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