Mary Beth Tinker Visits OU

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Mary Beth Tinker stressed the importance making use of first amendment rights while talking to Ohio University students Thursday night in Baker Theater.

Sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Tinker talked of her teen years explaining the 1965 case against her school. Tinker, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the school for not letting her and other students to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. 

The case was a monumental turning point for student rights when the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that wearing the armbands was an action protected under the first amendment.

Tinker compared rights to a muscle, saying "if you don't use them, then you could lose them."

At the end of her lecture about students fighting for their rights, Tinker took questions from students in the audience. One of which was Isaac Smith, who is now suing Ohio University. Smith works for Student Legal Services to give students legal representation. Last year, the group wore shirts that said "we get you off for free." The university would not let the group wear the shirts. Now Smith and several other students from around the country are suing their universities for freedom of speech rights.

Smith mentioned that the case was ongoing during the lecture and Tinker immediately responded that she would like one of the shirts.

Tinker ended the lecture saying the need for "the voices of youth in our culture" to fight for rights will be important for the years to come.