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November 18, 2021 at 2:59 a.m.

Editor's note: This letter was originally published five years ago today.

Not owed an answer

I was appalled recently to read that state Sen. Alan Clark, a Republican from Lonsdale, plans to block progress of the budget process for the state's flagship university. The reason? He's offended that a few women's basketball players exercised their right of free speech before a game.

It appears that Senator Clark has taken the first step toward reconfiguring Arkansas as a state where free speech is only free if he approves of it. I know of no NCAA school that grants athletic scholarships containing a condition that the athlete forfeit sacred constitutional rights.

Senator Clark, you are neither entitled to, nor deserving of, an "explanation" from the administration concerning the athletes' actions. You say you want the question of whether the players have "absolute, unfettered, First Amendment rights" resolved. Senator, it already has been. Perhaps you should borrow and read a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Considering who our new president-elect admires, I'm quite certain you will be getting letters of support from President Putin and Kim Jong Un. I'm sure they will be quite proud of you.

I fully support students' right of free speech and you should too. Your party claims to value the Constitution very highly. Your actions and those who may join you in this suppression of free speech say otherwise.

JUD HANSON

Fayetteville

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