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Thomas Francisco “Cisco” Martinez Jr., 54, died Jan. 5, 2018, in Juneau. He was born Aug. 21, 1963, in Ketchikan.
11/21/2013
Ban discrimination

The Constitution should be enough to protect free speech.

But if it takes a ban on political discrimination to enforce it, so be it. The ban won't hurt and it might help.

The University of Colorado has a reputation for liberal politics. It isn't the only school associated largely with a single point of view. It is one that has adopted a ban against discriminating against all other political leanings and beliefs.

That means that students can express their views in the classroom and in written assignments without reprisal. If they feel that they weren't treated fairly as a result, they can seek an investigation.

Two Republicans sought the ban, but it was approved unanimously by the university's Board of Regents.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects free speech. It applies to the whole nation, including schools, faculty and students. A school, where history and government are likely subjects, should be well aware of the amendment and never allow it to be compromised.

The university also plans to conduct a campus survey to gauge the seriousness of discrimination to this point.

That the regents acted indicates a problem. It's one of freedom of speech, but likely also financial. If a school acquires a reputation for one political leaning or another, it could affect its bottom line with students of different political beliefs choosing other schools. It also limits the pool of possible donors for scholarships and other school expenses.

A ban will publicly demonstrate the university's stance on political discrimination. But it should not be necessary when the First Amendment exists already.