An interesting question, and one I considered as well. But can one be selective with the application of First Amendment rights? Can students demand their speech and assembly protections — even at a private school — yet deny free press rights? Once a university accepts federal dollars (such as student financial aid) can it claim it isn’t bound by all federal laws (importantly noting that it was administration that backed the press litmus test at Smith)? And do we want to say it is permissible to deny First Amendment rights at a private school like Smith, but not at a public university like UMass down the street or Arizona State?
The true danger, in my opinion, is we are teaching that Constitutional rights are subjective, and we can choose those that we, or that our young people, can choose to accept and those they can’t. If it is OK for students to refuse press rights at what was billed as a public event, how is it then not OK for the police to try and do the same? We would be outraged if (and when) law enforcement tries such tactics. Future generations should be made to see that our rights are, and should always be, absolute. And they should be fighting to ensure it.