Sam Rojas, a sophomore at Benedictine College, has been given two options due to the anime stickers covering the back of his car window: remove them or don’t park on campus.
The stickers consisted of anime figures, a film and television-style in Japan for both children and adults. Some were found offensive to other Benedictine students, for two letters were sent into the Student Government Association office.
Sterling Jennings, a member of SGA, gave insight regarding the
“I got one letter, and one little note reminding me about the letter,” Jennings said. “It was an anonymous letter that basically said, ‘Hey this is a place that claims to be Catholic and yet smut like this is allowed on campus, can this be addressed?’”
First Amendment rights, although important, are employed differently on private campuses such as Benedictine in comparison to state schools.
Dr. Linda Henry is the Vice President of Student Life.
“Benedictine College is a private, Catholic institution. Therefore the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which prohibits governmental entities from restricting speech—does not apply to the College,” Dr. Henry says. “While the College supports this robust exchange of ideas and viewpoints, speech—whether verbal, written, or graphic—must still be consistent with the College’s conduct expectations for students and, ultimately, consistent with the Catholic identity of the College.”
Jennings passed these letters on to the administration, though he does not know exactly who came into possession of these letters once they were handed off.
After these letters were brought to the attention of administration, Rojas states that he was asked to remove the stickers.
“They wanted me to remove them all to keep parking on campus or keep them on and never park on campus again,” Rojas said.
Although this course of action offered to Rojas, he was not happy about the decision.
“After removing three, I came to the conclusion that I paid way too much money for these [stickers] and I’m not even getting that money reimbursed, and they were leaving stuff on my car,” Rojas said. “So, I ended up telling [the Vice President of Student Life] I could cover up the inappropriate parts. She finally agreed to that.”
Rojas can now park on campus without entirely removing the stickers.
Being asked if he felt the situation was resolved, Rojas said the following:
“Not really, I still lost. Still had to cover my stuff up. Some [stickers] still got taken down, and the rest covered, which still violates my First Amendment rights,” Rojas said.