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This fight is for free speech at Northeastern

October 25, 2002 | Page 12

Dear Socialist Worker,

On October 9, the Northeastern University chapter of the International Socialist Organization (ISO)--a student group on campus for more than six years--received an e-mail informing us that our group had been suspended. Without any warning, our room reservations were canceled, including the room for our meeting less than 24 hours later.

We were told that the reason for this move was that the ISO had failed to re-register for the fall--even though classes began only three weeks ago and most groups haven't yet re-registered. Also, we were told that we had put up posters "illegally" for our meeting entitled "The Bush Doctrine: Why You Should Oppose It."

This is a bureaucratic cover for their real aim--silencing campus activists. Only two months ago, the administration banned the Progressive Student Alliance from campus for its participation in a rally supporting janitors, who are on strike at Northeastern. Now the administration has set its sights on the ISO.

The only way to protect our rights is to use them, so we held our meeting as planned--in the Student Activities office, where the officials who banned our group work. Director of Student Activities Todd Shaver initially threatened to call campus police to kick us out--but was forced to back down in the face of more than 40 people refusing to leave his office.

In the end, we were allowed to finish our meeting in the room we had previously reserved. This was a victory for free speech at Northeastern--but it's only the beginning of a larger fight to ensure that students are never again denied their rights.

Matthew Boucher, Boston

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