Boobirds can sing at Alabama vs. LSU

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Nancy Ar­mour

There’ll be no pun­ish­ment for stu­dents who might protest Trump on Sat­ur­day

Alabama will not pun­ish stu­dents who boo Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at Sat­ur­day’s game against LSU at Bryan­tDenny Sta­dium.

In a state­ment Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the univer­sity’s Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion said an ear­lier mes­sage that threat­ened to re­voke seat­ing at fu­ture games for “or­ga­ni­za­tions that en­gage in dis­rup­tive be­hav­ior” had been taken out of con­text.

“The SGA strongly affirms its be­lief in free speech and the rights of all stu­dents to ex­press their opin­ions,” the state­ment said. “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.”

Trump is ex­pected to at­tend the game, which matches No. 2 LSU against top- ranked Alabama.

It will be the third week­end in a row Trump has at­tended a sport­ing event.

He was booed dur­ing Game 5 of the World Series fea­tur­ing the Astros at the Na­tion­als in Wash­ing­ton and heard a mix of boos and cheers at a UFC fight last week­end in New York.

The visit to Alabama was thought to be an ideal sce­nario for Trump, who is widely pop­u­lar in the state. But when AL. com pub­lished a story about the mes­sage from the SGA’s vice pres­i­dent of stu­dent affairs, a stu­dent, it prompted out­rage that Alabama would seek to si­lence stu­dents.

The mes­sage warned stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions, which are as­signed specific blocks of seats, that there would be height­ened se­cu­rity for the game and asked that their mem­bers be in the sta­dium “no later than 12: 30 p. m.” The game be­gins at 2: 30 p. m. CT.

The mes­sage then went on to say “ad­di­tional se­cu­rity will also be in the stu­dent sec­tion.”

“Any or­ga­ni­za­tions that en­gage in dis­rup­tive be­hav­ior dur­ing the game will be re­moved from block seat­ing in­stantly for the re­main­der of the sea­son.”

While that was taken to mean protests di­rected at Trump, it re­ferred to fights or ar­gu­ments be­tween stu­dent groups, an official with the SGA told USA TO­DAY Sports on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the per­son was not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly.

There are about 50 stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions, mostly fra­ter­ni­ties and soror­i­ties, that have seats in the block area.

SU­SAN WALSH/ AP

JOE ROB­BINS/ GETTY IM­AGES

Alabama stu­dents at­tend­ing Sat­ur­day’s game ver­sus LSU will not be pun­ished if they protest against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who plans to be at Bryant- Denny Sta­dium.

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