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Free speech at OU: Politcal expression and daylong free seminar

NORMAN — Posters generally are prohibited inside the University of Oklahoma's stadium, but an exception was made early Monday morning when NBC weatherman Al Roker brought his Rokerthon 3 to campus.

OU spokesman Rowdy Gilbert said officials even provided materials for students to make signs, but asked that they be in the spirit of the event — slogans welcoming Roker to campus or proclaiming school pride. 

OU officials identified two posters that mentioned President Donald Trump — one pro-Trump and one anti-Trump — and removed from the event, Gilbert said. Neither individual was asked to leave the stadium, but the pro-Trump student chose to go, he said.

"While political expression is allowed generally in public spaces on our campus, the university places reasonable restrictions on expression within its facilities, like Monday morning’s taping at the stadium," Gilbert said.

"We weren't wanting to take out the fun for anyone," he said. Officials simply wanted to preserve the pep rally environment of Rokerthon.

A public seminar will explores the question "Is Free Speech at Risk?" from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 8 at OU's Thurman J. White Forum Building. Registration and all meals are free.

Hosted by the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and the Center for the History of Liberty at OU, the seminar will feature lectures by four national speakers, discussion and a film screening of "Can We Take a Joke?"

For more information, contact Amber Murray at or 405-325-4859. Go to to register.

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K.S. McNutt

Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from... Read more ›