LINCOLN, Neb – ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad released this statement following mixed reports of responses from elected officials that may include restrictions on student speech:
“The First Amendment creates a bedrock for American values and free speech is among our most cherished freedoms. Political speech is among the most highly protected form of expression. The ACLU of Nebraska applauds those who exercise their First Amendment rights to engage in peaceful political discourse, including Nebraska Cornhuskers Michael Rose-Ivey, Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal. While we equally protect and defend the rights of others to peacefully disagree it is shocking that government leaders would assert government sanctions should be imposed to discipline these student athletes for their expression on critical racial justice issues.
“As Michael Rose-Ivey eloquently said, there is a ‘systematic problem in America that needs to be addressed.’ In Nebraska and around the country we have to have conversations about the state of law enforcement, the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement and the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.
“We are grateful for the thoughtful leadership and strong support for free speech rights exhibited by many University officials including Coach Mike Riley, Nebraska President Hank Bounds and Regents Chairman Kent Schroeder of Kearney.
“As a proud Husker alum and lifelong fan I thank these student leaders for having the courage to speak truth to power. Our democracy is strengthened by robust debate.”