An Oregon libertarian group has accused the University of Oregon of violating students' First Amendment rights because the student body refused to sponsor a gun giveaway event at the school.
Young Americans for Liberty's Brandon Clements told KPTV that the libertarian group staged the event on Friday to protest a campus policy banning concealed firearms. Three guns were offered as grand prizes to winners of the poker-themed tournament.
After UO student government refused to pay for the event, Young Americans for Liberty asked the conservative group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to step in.
"ASUO’s refusal to fund a poker night hosted by UO’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) expressly because it disagrees with the event’s message amounts to constitutionally prohibited viewpoint discrimination," FIRE said in a statement. "FIRE urged the university administration to step in to protect its students’ First Amendment rights."
"Since ASUO is an agent of a public university, the University of Oregon administration is legally and morally required to intervene to rectify the First Amendment violations perpetrated by ASUO," FIRE Senior Program Officer Ari Cohn insisted.
Although ASUO sponsored last year's event, the group said that its mission statement was being interpreted differently this year. The university issued a statement supporting ASUO.
"ASUO receives many funding requests and is empowered to select which do and which do not receive support," the university noted.
Young Americans for Liberty UO chapter president Thomas Tullis explained to The Resister-Guard that arming students was more important than ever following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College last month.
“Clearly, campuses are being targeted by mass shooters,” he pointed out.