John Kerry's speech at the University of Florida was a sponsored event.
The speech was, as a matter-of-fact, sponsored by ACCENT, a speaker's bureau.
ACCENT uses donations from private companies and individuals -- a partial list of whom may be found here -- to provide the funds necessary for the sponsoring of it's speakers.
John Kerry was a sponsored speaker -- sponsored by ACCENT, using donated funds.
According to current news reports, Steven Blank -- ACCENT chairman -- was the individual who ordered the microphone cut off and also requested that Mr. Meyer be escorted out of the auditorium. Seems only fair -- they paid the piper, they get to call the dance.
I see a lot of my Gentle Readers decrying the demise of Free Speech, citing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and so on.
Somebody check my thinking here. Preferably someone who is using their critical thinking skills, rather than emotion and blind rote.
"Sponsoring" someone generally presupposes a contract. In exchange for remuneration a person renders a service. Might be speaking fees, room, board, lunch, gas money -- something.
ACCENT is composed of students, supervised by the Student Body President, but is funded by private donations from individuals and corporations.
So. We have a speaker -- sponsored by a privately-funded organisation -- at a function sponsored by the same, privately-funded organisation.
Would someone please tell me where, in the sodding hell, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says one single, bloody thing about private contracts?
I see where "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 see the Congress part.
I just don't see the part in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights about private contracts or private individuals. Maybe my copy is missing that part.