FIRE Attacks Speech Codes

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has filed a Federal lawsuit against Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania over its outrageous campus speech code. The First Amendment evidently ends at the campus entrance gates.

"Too many colleges and universities attempt to outlaw free speech and expression that does not conform to a specific orthodoxy, and we are challenging that," said Thor Halvorssen, the group's chief executive officer in a Associated Press article. "We've done research at hundreds of universities and we're starting with Shippensburg because their speech codes are the worst."

Today Shippensburg; tomorrow America's other 4,070 insitutions of higher education.

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    One of the driving reasons behind all these rules is that all institutions have been terrorized by the legal profession. Unless an institution explicitly deals with this kind of thing, they may be liable to litigation if anyone gets upset, hurt, offended etc.

    It is somewhat comical that they are now getting sued from the other direction!

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    I think you meant to say that free speech--not the First Amendment--stops at the college gates. The First Amendment ONLY prohibits government actions that interfere with free speech. Free speech is a principle that ought to be respected, especially at universities. But the Constitution does not prohibit private, noncoercive efforts against it. Otherwise we are on a slipperly slope of treating all criticism as anti-free speech.

  • Phil||

    Bruce, if Shippensburg accepts Federal aid for its student body (and I have no idea if it does), then there is a genuine First Amendment conflict present in those speech codes.

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    Shippensburg is a public university. That was the first thing I looked for, and it was made clear several times in the piece.

    Interesting observation, April. If we can stop the asshats from prosecuting us for exercizing our rights the problem would be solved. People who can't stand other people having liberty deserve none for themselves. FIRE away!!

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    An engaging attack on speech codes and whats being done in the name of "social equality" is a book:"The New Thought Police" sub title: "inside the lefts assault on free speech and free minds"
    Its by Tammy Bruce, a past president of the L.A. chapter of NOW and lesbian activist. It made me mad as Hell. Also Justin Raimondo's new coloum at antiwar.com (a libertarian oriented anti-war site) tells of efforts by Senator Rick Santorum to
    amend Title IX of the higher education act so as to cut federal funding for thousands of American colleges and universities if those institutions are found to be permitting professors, students and student organizations to openly criticize Israel, which Santorum considers to be an act of "anti-Semitism." I don't know if FIRE is working on this also (might not be, sounds like they have their hands full) but we should all get on the phone or e-mail to our congress person and senators and tell them we prefer free speech and academic freedom.

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