Talk about a bus wreck. The Chapel Hill Town Council, under a new policy that allows ads on Chapel Hill Transit buses, has taken a fender-bender and turned it into a head-on collision.
To review: In recent weeks a print ad, with mild language but perceived by some as strongly anti-Israel, has been up and running in local buses. This was, supposedly, allowed by a year-old policy allowing bus ads. The ad, advocating an end to military aid to Israel, caused no end of controversy, but that was just the start. Now a proposed ad taking an opposing view (and then some) is vying to board the buses too. Whats an oh-so-sensitive Town Council to do?
If that werent enough, town officials last week discovered to their embarrassment that, under the bus-ad ordinance theyd actually passed last year, no political or religion-themed ads need apply. Oops!
If that stance is constitutional if its a mighty convenient out at this point. But banning all potentially objectionable ads doesnt say much for protecting freedom of speech in a university town that, youd think, might welcome it, and even be unsurprised that asserting a constitutional right can be controversial.