Forty-five words that were first written with a quill pen 230 years ago form what may be the most consequential sentence in United States history. But that sentence also is one of the most misunderstood – as recent comments from some of our leaders illustrate. The sentence I refer to is the First Amendment. It is the Constitution’s guarantee of fundamental rights of the American people to live their lives without government butting in. For reference, here is what the amendment says in full: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I have been sputtering like an old pickup truck for the past three years over the sometimes outrageous, sometimes ill-informed, and often infuriating comments our president makes each day on his Twitter account. But before readers rush to judge me too harshly for that statement, allow me to add:
It would be utterly foolish, absolutely wrong and a perversion of what the United States is all about if the officials who operate Twitter bow to efforts by Kamala Harris, the California senator and Democratic presidential candidate, to pressure the company to shut down Donald Trump’s account. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register. Opinions are his own.
In 2009, two Iowa college students went missing and the responses highlighted differences in the way universities handle missing persons cases and the challenges in dealing with adults who go missing. Polices haven’t changed much since then, officials said this week, although social media growth allows word to spread more quickly and updated requirements under the Clery Act lend more transparency to campus missing persons polices.
The University of Iowa has intensely recruited Chinese students since 2007, but has made little progress fostering their assimilation to campus life. In some respects, an IowaWatch investigation has found, the university’s practices make interactions with domestic students more difficult and increase isolation.