Professor Gregory Thatcher of Fresno State University has been ordered by a Californian court to pay a $17,000 fine for insisting that students at the university are not protected by the First Amendment.
Thatcher saw that a FSU student had written a pro-life message in chalk on a sidewalk. Despite being repeatedly told that the student had permission to write the message, the professor erased the message and lectured the student about why she had no right to create it.
The incident was captured on video and subsequently released on YouTube.
“Heartbeats 21 days after conception,” the chalk message read under a heart symbol.
On the video, multiple students attempt to deface the message. A student informs them that they had permission from the university to write it. But the students claim “a teacher” told them to “get rid of it.”
They say the teacher’s name is “Tatcher.”
Another student then claims it’s “pretty illegal” to record someone in a public place. Yes, that’s the intelligence level we can now expect in higher education.
Professor Thatcher soon arrives and tells the student that she doesn’t have permission to write the chalk message, even though she repeatedly informs him that she does and tells him that she has the email “from plant ops and student involvement.”
Thatcher makes a bogus argument that there’s a “free speech area on campus,” which he claims is “the whole idea of free speech” — that free speech is only allowed in the “free speech area.”
According to Breitbart, that policy hadn’t been in effect on campus since 2015.
On the video, Thatcher first seems to admit that he should verify that the student has permission to leave her message on the sidewalk, but then says it’s “our part of free speech” to “get rid of it.” He then starts erasing the message with his foot.
Thatcher’s hypocrisy is evident, and the student humiliates him by walking circles around his argument. She points out that it’s hypocritical that Thatcher thinks she needs a free speech zone, wrong as he may be, but he doesn’t. Also, Thatcher thinks she needs permission, whereas he doesn’t, and his free speech can be exercised by denying the rights of others.
It’s obvious why the court thought Thatcher didn’t understand how free speech works.
This week, a district court settlement ordered Thatcher to pay $17,000 for his First Amendment violation. Additionally, Thatcher will be forced to attend First Amendment training.
Despite the court’s decision, Thatcher insists that he didn’t do anything wrong.
“I did not, in any way, admit to any wrongdoing,” Thatcher said. “I did agree to sit through a training seminar because I love to learn others’ thoughts and opinions.”
Travis Barham, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that Thatcher’s act was a “flagrant” violation of the First Amendment. “This is a particularly extreme case because you have a professor trying to wipe away the chalk himself,” Barham said. “Far too often university officials try to play the role of speech police and try to restrict what can be said and where it can be said on campus.”
Thatcher refusing to admit to any wrongdoing, and his belief that the U.S. Constitution is merely “others’ thoughts and opinions” prove that he is both ignorant and remorseless. He actually thinks he was lawfully justified for doing what he did, despite the court’s decision.
This is what we can expect, though, from university professors who know nothing about the law, or free speech, or common decency.
If he is not professional enough to deal with a little chalk and few students, he is not professional enough for a lifelong role as a professor.
Should he be fired for his actions?
Let us know what you think, and sound off in the comments below.