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Morning Headlines: The Debate Over Free Speech on Ohio's College Campuses

photo of Cleveland State University
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Cleveland State University is one of at least two schools that does not allow students to put up posters in dorm windows.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, August 30:

  • Plans to repurpose Akron's Rubber Bowl hit a brick wall
  • Finding a successor to deceased Summit County Republican Party Chairman Arshinkoff
  • TSA checkpoints at Akron-Canton aim to keep germs from flying
  • Kent State University ranked one of nation's safest campuses
  • Protecting free speech for guest speakers on college campuses
  • Two schools ban posters in college dorm windows
  • Allowing churches to take sides in political campaigns
  • No indictment for Euclid officer Rhodes
  • Death on Lake Erie
  • Lake Township man accused of vandalism spree

Plans to repurpose Akron's Rubber Bowl hit a brick wall
As Cleveland responds to the scrapping of plans to renovate the Quicken Loans Arena, efforts to revamp a sports venue in Akron have also come to an end. The Rubber Bowl on the city's east side was struggling to come back as a live music and entertainment venue, but its owners announced via Facebook that they’re not getting enough city cooperation to make that happen. Akron residents have complained for years about vandalism at the abandoned stadium. Team 1 Marketing Group says it plans to sign over the Rubber Bowl to Summit County Land Bank.

Finding a successor to deceased Summit County Republican Party Chairman Arshinkoff
The Summit County Republican Party is expected to meet within the next couple of weeks to nominate a successor to former GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff. It’s not clear yet who the Summit County GOP will recommend. They have until September 12-th to send a name to Secretary of State Jon Husted for confirmation. Arshinkoff passed away on Monday at the age of 62. He was the party's chairman for about 40 years.

TSA checkpoints at Akron-Canton aim to keep germs from flying
Akron-Canton Airport is taking steps to combat an invisible threat at its security checkpoints: germs. The plastic bins passengers use to send through personal items for screening are now equipped with self-cleaning mats. The mats use tiny mineral crystals to kill germs without chemicals. Hospitals have used the technology for years, but Akron-Canton is the first airport to use the NanoSeptic mats.

Kent State University ranked one of nation's safest campuses
A national safety trade group has ranked Kent State University as one of the safest campuses in the country. The Council for Home Safety and Security ranks Kent State 11th nationwide, behind the University of New Hampshire and Oakland University in Michigan. Crime data for more than 2,000 universities were analyzed to create the rankings.

Protecting free speech for guest speakers on college campuses
A Republican proposal seeks to protect speakers' appearances at Ohio colleges and calls on campuses to punish students who disrupt them. The Campus Free Speech Act would restrict creation of campus "free speech zones" and require colleges to establish sanctions for students who interfere with "the free expression of others." Campuses could be sued if someone feels First Amendment rights were restricted. The measure also prohibits universities from disinviting certain speakers because of protests. Similar bills are emerging around the country, as conservatives react to recent decisions by universities to cancel certain speakers for fear of violent protests.

Two schools ban posters in college dorm windows
Posters and signs have long been a common sight in college dorm room windows. But at least two universities in northeast Ohio have banned window art. Cleveland State and Ohio State are both drawing criticism for what some consider to be a restriction of free speech. College students often display campaign posters and other political messages in their dorm windows. Both schools say windows need to be kept clear for safety reasons.

Allowing churches to take sides in political campaigns
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel has announced the creation of a faith outreach team whose first goal is the repeal of a 1954 federal law. Mandel, Ohio's state treasurer, joins President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans interested in easing the restrictions created by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson's amendment. It prohibits nonprofits with tax exempt status, including churches, universities and many foundations, from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

No indictment for Rhodes
A Euclid officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed driver back in March. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Matthew Rhodes after hearing evidence from prosecutors with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.  Authorities say Rhodes shot 23-year-old Luke Stewart three times after a struggle to gain control of a moving car. The jury's decision comes as activists have been criticizing Euclid police for an arrest where an officer was caught on video punching a man more than a dozen times in an August traffic stop.

Death on Lake Erie
The U.S. Coast Guard says one fisherman died and another was rescued from Lake Erie more than 24 hours after their boat capsized. The Coast Guard says the two men held onto the boat for nearly a day. Search crews spotted the overturned boat about five miles off shore near Cleveland and rescued Lester Hill. Crews are still searching for the body of 56-year-old Larry Love.

Lake Township man accused of vandalism spree
A Stark County man is accused of going on a wide ranging vandalism spree in several cities. 49-year-old Richard Rhodes of Lake Township has been arrested, accused of shooting out the windows at Hartville Hardware and Bureau of Motor Vehicle locations in Cuyahoga Falls, North Canton and Barberton. Rhodes also claims to have shot at ODOT buildings in Akron and North Canton and a state highway patrol car. Investigators also say Rhodes set fire to an Orthodox church in Stark County causing $80,000 in damage. The motive is unclear.