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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

#FREESPEECH in the News: January 21, 2020

Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH in the News: January 21, 2020

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) Free speech or hate speech? Yard display in Davenport depicts mannequin gunning down Democrats

A man whose snow figure display on his front lawn includes a mannequin gunning down Democrats says the exhibit is “just fun and games.”

Local leaders are condemning the display in the 2100 block of Telegraph Road, and Mayor Mike Matson said he's asked the chief of police to look into it. Still, some said there’s nothing the city can do because the exhibit is protected free speech.

The display was put up by homeowner Donald Hesseltine. It depicts a military-garbed mannequin with a chainsaw, a can of Busch Light and an assault rifle firing at a snowman wearing a “Bernie 2020” T-shirt.

2.) Iowa State University at Center of Free Speech Lawsuit

A national nonprofit is suing Iowa State University, alleging three of the school’s policies violate students' right to free speech. Speech First targets the university’s chalking ban, which limits use of written messages on ISU sidewalks to only university recognized student groups; communication about ballot measures and political campaigns through school-issued email; and the existence of the Campus Climate Reporting System.

The nonprofit is claiming these limitations hinder student participation and involvement in the political process.

“Political speech and political organizing is something that the Founding Fathers felt very strongly about. One of the reasons that we have the First Amendment is for political speech, and so I think by hindering that I think you really hinder the ability of students to be involved in the caucuses,” said Speech First President Nicole Neily.

3.) Denver Post Columnist Says He Was Fired for His ‘Insistence’ That There Are Only 2 Sexes

A columnist for the Denver Post says he was fired after a column that argued the expectation of inclusivity is losing freedom of speech and “there are only two sexes.”

In a Friday Facebook post, Joe Caldara wrote, “What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn’t allowed) we must lose our right to free speech.”

Caldara has been writing weekly columns for the paper since 2016.

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