Student disciplined for posting flyer advertising speech by black writer

By Hannity & Colmes

FOX News Channel, July 8, 2003

HANNITY: But first, a California Polytech student was charged and found guilty of a disruption of a campus event after posting a flier advertising a speech by Mason Weaver, the author of the new book “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation.” Now some students reportedly complained that the flier offended them.

We contacted the school today and they dispute many of the statements written about this case in recent articles, and they also said federal student privacy laws prevent them from talking about this until the student, Steven Hinkle, signs a waiver.

Steven Hinkle, he now joins us from Inga Bark’s (ph) territory, Bakersfield, California. And in Los Angeles, the attorney, Thor Halvorssen, who’s also the CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education.

Steve, how are you? Welcome aboard, sir.


HANNITY: I’ve been to Bakersfield a number of times. It’s great to be out there. You invited this guy, Mason Weaver, to come to the campus, right?

HINKLE: Right.

HANNITY: He had written a new book.

HINKLE: Right.

HANNITY: He’s an African-American.


HANNITY: The book is called “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation.”

HINKLE: Right.

HANNITY: Where’s the problem?

HINKLE: I have no idea. I went to post the flier in the multicultural center and some students, they got very upset when I was trying to post the flier. They said that I was disrespecting their right not to be offended, and they called the police.

HANNITY: Now, I have not read the book. Is there anything racist in the book or anything that can be perceived as that? What is the premise of the book?

HINKLE: The book is about economic freedom. It basically equates many Americans’ dependency on the government to the dependency that a slave had on the slave master. Hence the name, “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation.”

HANNITY: He takes a controversial stand. But I thought college campuses were the areas where we ought to have fierce and passionate debate, right?

HINKLE: Right. That’s precisely why this is so shocking. Censorship runs in direct opposition to the very purpose of academic institutions like Cal Poly. That’s why this is so shocking, that they feel that they can trample my First Amendment rights.

HANNITY: Yes. So where do we go from here? Thor, you’re the attorney in this case. You guys have taken this on. Do you have a strong case?

THOR HALVORSSEN, FIRE CEO: Well, we’re not representing him legally, because at the point we’re not even looking at that. We’re simply exposing them to — public exposure is the Achilles heel of academic corruption. Administrators like those at Cal Poly cannot defend in public what they’ve done Steve Hinkle. And this is not an isolated incident.

This is hogwash that they cannot comment about this case. Steve Hinkle signed a waiver that allowed them to respond to the allegations that FIRE has made. They responded, and their reply was utterly unconvincing.

COLMES: So you’re saying — It’s Alan. You’re saying they could respond legally. He signed the waiver that they said he needs to sign for them to comment?

HALVORSSEN: They signed a waiver for them to comment to us about the case. We posted their response. The full response by Cal Poly is posted on our website.

COLMES: Right.

HALVORSSEN: Anyone can read it there. And it proves — the evidence that they’ve themselves provided in this case prove that there was no meeting taking place. That’s something they came up with after the fact.

COLMES: All right, so they say he interrupted a Bible study class that was about to begin.

HALVORSSEN: That was nonsense.

COLMES: Not accurate. You were told, Steve, by a school official that as a white Republican, your presence could be seen as a, quote, “collision of experience.” Explain that.

HINKLE: Yes. That seemed really outrageous to me. You know, I never judge people on the color of their skin. I don’t pretend to, you know, assume things about people because of their complexion. I was never raised that way. So it was shocking for me, you know, to hear this administrator tell me that I should have assumed some hostility from these students because they didn’t look like me.

COLMES: And you were accused — the police were called because a suspicious white male was putting up a poster. That was the description given to the police. And they were called because you put up a poster.

HALVORSSEN: And Alan, not only that — but Alan, the fact that the police report says that there was simply a disruption proves to you that there was no — there is no case by them. It’s simply that there was a disruption. The police report says quite clearly that someone was putting up a poster, not that someone was disrupting a meeting.

HANNITY: So much for free speech, gentlemen…

HALVORSSEN: So much for free speech.

HANNITY: … on college campuses anymore. And I think they ought to allow all sides to be debated. And I think the students are smart enough. They can decipher the truth from the lie.

Thank you both for being with us. Appreciate your time. Best of luck to you.

HINKLE: Thank you very much.