University of Connecticut vs. Free Speech

Michelle Brodsky, News Editor

According to the Washington Post, two University of Connecticut students are being prosecuted for “ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality, or race.”

If they are convicted, they could face up to thirty days in jail.

They are accused of screaming racial obscenities and getting progressively louder as they did so.

The arrest has caused quite a bit of controversy, with many asserting that the students’ First Amendment rights were violated.

“Getting louder with iteration and laughing as they walk by student housing” does not actually violate state law.

The racial ridicule law states, “any person who, by his advertisement, ridicules or holds up to contempt any person or class of persons, on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race of such person or class of persons, shall be guilty of a class D misdemeanor.”

This law is limited to “advertisements” and does not cover any type of personal conversation.

The accused, Jared Karal, 21, and Ryan Mucaj, 21, were charged under this statute despite the fact that they were not advertising any kind of service or product.

On October 11th, a video was released of the two men screaming the N-word as they walked across campus.

There was a third student in the video but it was soon determined that he was not involved in the inappropriate behavior.

The video instantaneously circulated on social media, prompting outrage among students.

According to University President Thomas C. Katsouleas, “it is supportive of our core values to pursue accountability, through due process, for an egregious assault on our community that has caused considerable harm.”

The Hartford Courant reported that the NAACP chapter took a stand against this blatant racism, stating “the N-word is more than just a word” and organizing a campus march and rally.