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Nevada Regent Backs Off Proposal to Ban ‘Gangsta Rap’ Concerts on Campuses

Nevada Regent Backs Off Proposal to Ban ‘Gangsta Rap’ Concerts on Campuses

RENO, Nev.

      Acknowledging it is unconstitutional, Regent Stavros Anthony has backed off his proposal to ban commercial “gangsta rap” concerts on university campuses.

      A 90-minute discussion at the a recent regents’ meeting saw a number of officials, including University System Chancellor James E. Rogers, criticize Anthony’s idea on First Amendment grounds.

      Anthony backed off saying the legal hurdles were insurmountable.

      “It is still my opinion that these type of groups that promote violence should not be on our university property,” he said. “But I’ve been told by plenty of lawyers here that it is a violation of the First Amendment, and I have to work with that.”

      Anthony said he still intends to move forward with a proposal to protect the safety of the public at events on university campuses.

      Regents Bret Whipple and Michael Wixom said they support that effort.

      Anthony initially wanted to bar acts that advocate “violence, hatred and death” from all university campuses. His specific concern is gangsta rap artists, who he says have a long history of inciting violence.

      But after a review of First Amendment concerns, Anthony agreed that a different approach might be necessary. He asked that policies be developed to help protect the public at concerts and that those ideas be presented at the next meeting of the board for further discussion.

      ACLU of Nevada and Dick Morgan, dean of the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, also opposed the original proposal.

      Anthony said it was the death of Las Vegas police Sgt. Henry Prendes, who was shot and killed by an aspiring rapper on Feb. 1, which prompted him to move forward with his proposed ban.

      Anthony says that initially he believed his ban could withstand a First Amendment challenge because it would deal with speech that incites people to violence, which can be restricted.

      Under his proposal, Anthony said he would leave it up to university presidents, and the operators of their concert facilities, to create a policy that could be used to prohibit certain acts from performing.

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