Wednesday, Alabama’s Student Government Association sent out a letter to organizations that have reserved blocks of seating at Bryant-Denny Stadium that “disruptive behavior” during the LSU-Alabama game Saturday afternoon will not be tolerated. With President Donald Trump expected to be in attendance, some in the media interpreted the letter as a warning against the student section directing their right to freedom of speech and expression (if they so chose) in the general direction of the POTUS.
Amidst the kerfuffle kicked up by the media’s portrayal of the letter, both the SGA’s president, Jason Rothfarb, the author of the original letter, and the SGA’s press secretary, Jackson Fuentes, sent out separate statements in which they further clarified that the letter was in not in any way political.
Below are those statements, in their entirety:
Some have misinterpreted my comment regarding ‘disruptive behavior.’ As with other games this season, Organization’s Block Seating locations will be clearly marked, but at certain times, other students can and should have access to open seats. By disruptive behavior, we are asking students to be respectful to all students and staff and avoid altercations.
My email has nothing [to] do with anyone’s First Amendment rights and I am sorry for any confusion. Please express yourself and especially your pride for the Tide.
The SGA strongly affirms its belief in free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions. Today’s report erroneously assigned a political context to a message meant only to remind students about heightened security and the consequences of altercations or other behaviors unbecoming of a University of Alabama student, as defined in the Capstone Creed.
We look forward to cheering on the Crimson Tide, alongside the student body, on Saturday afternoon.
It should be noted that the SGA acknowledged that this was the first time this year the organization has sent out such a letter. The intense scrutiny surrounding the game was the overriding factor in the letter being sent.