Activism Ban Rescinded

August 31, 2018

Southern Illinois University Athletics recently rescinded a change to the Student Athlete Code of Conduct that forbade student-athletes from any political activism.

According to the Daily Egyptian, the passage had required members of the athletics department, including student-athletes, cheerleaders and spirit members, to remain neutral on political issues, and that displays of activism “will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the program.” Liz Jarnigan, SIU's Senior Woman Administrator, had originally provided the language.

“It is a privilege and not a right to be a student-athlete, cheerleader or spirit member at Southern Illinois University,” Jarnigan wrote.

Tom Weber, Associate Athletic Director over Communications, said the change had been intended to provide the school's student-athletes and fans with a positive experience. 

“However, some have interpreted the language to suggest that our aim was to restrict the free speech rights of our students – that was never our intent,” Weber said. “We fully support the free expression of ideas and opinions among our students and the entire Saluki family.”

Ed Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy at the the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, expressed concern over the policy's language.

“Southern Illinois University’s new policy suggesting that players or cheerleaders could be removed from their respective program for peaceful ‘displays of activism’ falls short of the critical responsibility of a public university to honor and protect free speech rights for their students,” Yohnka said.

William Freivogel, a Professor of Media Law at SIU, said the rules do not make any sense, noting that they punished students for protesting, but did not punish displays of patriotism or faith.

“Rules favoring apathy over activism discriminate on the content of the speech – and they don’t make sense,” Freivogel said. “Don’t we want our student leaders to be activists in shaping society, not people who stand mutely on the sidelines?”

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

A Rebounder With Versatility

Medicine ball exercises are a staple of many workout routines. Whether the goal is performance enhancement by strengthening the core or helping an athlete rehab from an injury, medicine balls are versatile piece of equipment that can get the job done. But most strength coaches and athletic trainers don’t have enough time available to catch … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Author and Strength Coach Mike Mejia Praises VersaClimber

“Over the course of the past twenty years I’ve trained hundreds of clients that run the gamut from average Joe’s to professional athletes and in all that time, I’ve never come across a cardio piece that comes anywhere near the Versa Climber!” says Mike Mejia M.S., CSCS, author of The Men’s Heath Better Body Blueprint, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Indoor Pool Surface Solution

Mateflex has indoor pool surfacing that is safer and more enjoyable to walk on than concrete. Mateflex offers perforated tiles to allow water to drain through that can cover up old, unsightly concrete or just spruce up a new area with a colorful design. The interlocking tiles dry quickly while keeping your feet out of … CLICK TO READ MORE...