When Temple student groups felt that Temple News was being anti-Semitic, they protested. Again, the First Amendment was put into action as student groups passed out informational fliers and let the paper know it had done something inflammatory.
When a Temple student felt that the this paper was being racist, he protested. This paper watched as the protesters exercised their Constitutional rights.
Yes, the same First Amendment allowed us to make the mistake that it made, but it is that power – the power of Free Speech and the Freedom of the Press that makes things fair and equal in America.
People questioned the above protesters, but they held their ground and hoped that something would come out of their acts of the First Amendment in action.
But last Thursday, when thousands of our papers were tossed into trashcans along side banana peels and soda cans, the First Amendment – the same one that stood over the above mentioned protesters – was trounced upon.
This wasn’t a Constitutionally approved act – this was an illegal act. This wasn’t an act of protest; this was an act of demolition.
We don’t know who stole our newspapers – or that is to say we don’t have any proof of who stole our newspapers. People who know what happened have yet to come forward, to voice their constitutional voice, because they don’t want to be “snitches” or “rats.”
We don’t know who tossed aside our constitutional right and monetary value, to stifle our Freedom of the Press.
Do we have an idea? Of course we do. But we can’t say who we think did it, because without proof from the people who don’t want to be snitches, that would be wrong.
What was last week’s newspaper about? What did it try to do with its First Amendment right that somebody or some organization didn’t want released to the Temple public?
This front page of the paper was a story about alleged fraternity hazing at Sigma Pi. It was the account of two anonymous former pledges of the organization that allege that the fraternity hazed them, illegally. With our constitutional right, we published the story.
Not that many people saw the print edition of the paper, although people did get a chance to read it online in record numbers. The people that did read the print copy were holding a piece of the First Amendment in their hands. The people that stole the papers were throwing a piece of the First Amendment in the trash.
Sigma Pi was very upset about having the issue published. On the Monday before printing, a member of the fraternity came into our office and brought our editor-in-chief into a room and told her that if we ran the story we would have a legal issue on our hands.
On Wednesday, the day before the printing of the stolen newspapers, Sigma Pi president Paris Arnold called the newspaper and repeated the same idle threats.
There was no libel in the story, merely two sources that used their First Amendment rights to speak to us for us to use our First Amendment right to relay the information to the Temple public.
But Sigma Pi didn’t want the article published. And when it was published, they approached the writer of the story and threatened him with idle physical threats.
But we don’t know who stole our newspapers, and threw the First Amendment in the trashcan. We can only wait to see if someone uses his or her right to come forward and help us maintain the Freedom of Press that was tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage.
If you know anything about last week’s issue of Temple News being thrown into the trash, please contact us at email@example.com.