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Betsy DeVos slams free speech at A-State, officials defend policy

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Gage Skidmore
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Wikipedia
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

The US Department of Education Secretary made remarks this week that were negative of Arkansas State University.  

Betsy DeVos targeted the university over free-speech on the Jonesboro campus.  A-State student Ashlyn Hoggard sued the university after she claimed she was stopped from setting up a table about conservative group, Turning Point USA in front of the Carl R. Reng Student Union.  Hoggard says she was told she couldn’t set up the information because she did not notify university administrators at least three days previously, as noted in A-State’s policy.

ASU General Counsel Brad Phelps tells the Arkansas Democrat Gazette “the university is committed to the first amendment with policies and procedures that are designed to further that right, not restrict it.” 

The university is one of two in the state that has designated free-speech zones, something criticized by DeVos as a “typically obscure, small, cordoned-off corner of campus where free expression is permitted.”  She accused the university of “manipulating the marketplace of ideas.” 

The defendants have denied such actions, and point to the free speech policies that were established in 1998.  Phelps says he can’t comment further on the case. 

KASU is licensed through Arkansas State University.  

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.