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ACLU’S Strossen takes questions, new members welcomed: PSSS round-up 2/26

James Kelly


Managing Editor


Former ACLU president and free speech advocate Nadine Strossen took questions from student representatives at Monday February 26th’s Plymouth State Student Senate meeting. Strossen, who was visiting campus for a talk on the 27th titled “Why Free Speech Matters More Than Ever,” focused on free speech for young people and on college campuses.

Strossen emphasized the importance of the content neutrality principle – the idea that censorship should not be based on the content of speech – when regulating speech on campuses. The most dangerous form of censorship is “when the reason for censorship is disagreement with, or dislike of, the idea,” Strossen said. The right to express unpopular ideas should be protected, “even saying something that expressly advocated genocide.” Speech should only be censored when it causes “certain serious, specific harm,” or when a pattern of speech creates a “hostile environment,” she said.

PSSS also welcomed new members after last week’s special election. The new members are: Isabella Hannaford, Class of 2025 President; Lexia Stanley, Class of 2025 Vice President; Ethan Dupuis, Class of 2026 Representative at-large; Cyrus Bowditch, Class of 2026 Representative at-large; Kaylie LeBlanc, Class of 2026 Secretary; Olivia Atkocaitis, Off-Campus Representative. Class of 2025 Treasurer and Secretary remain vacant.

The new members were inaugurated after what PSSS Speaker William Loughlin believes was the body’s first ever special election. “We’re very happy to have you guys as new members,” Loughlin said.

Student Jordan Anderson presented on behalf of the Knitting and Crochet Club, which PSSS voted unanimously to recognize. The club will include experienced knitters and crocheters, as well as people who would like to learn. “We are here to teach you,” Anderson, who is president of the club, said. The club already has interest from 20-40 students, she added. The knitting and crochet club will meet from 1-2:30 in Lamson on Fridays.

Student Body President Devonte Gilmore announced that Plymouth State has picked a commencement speaker, but is not ready to release the speaker’s name yet. Loughlin announced an administrative effort to crackdown on vandalism on campus, including more opportunities for anonymous reporting, potential expulsions, and frequent dorm walkthroughs. Police officers are conducting walkthroughs on Thursday and Saturday nights, Loughlin said.

PSSS meets on Mondays at 7:00pm in the HUB Student Senate Room. Their meetings are also live streamed on Zoom.