Reason.tv: What You Can't Say on Campus - Greg Lukianoff on Free Expression in Higher Education

If you think that, like the Macarena, campus speech codes were mocked into obscurity during the 1990s, think again. Approximately 71 percent of American campuses still impose highly restrictive "red light speech codes" on college students, notes Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Recently Reason.tv's Ted Balaker sat down with Lukianoff to discuss the sorry state of free expression in higher education, why you can't call Harvard men sissies, and how a student got expelled for criticizing a university president on Facebook.

Approximately 8.5 minutes.

Shot by Paul Detrick and Hawk Jensen. Edited by Austin Bragg.

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  • ||

    "If you think that, like the Macarena, campus speech codes were mocked into obscurity during the 1990s, think again. Approximately 71 percent of American campuses still impose highly restrictive "red light speech codes" on college students"

    As do nearly 100% of American companies.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Mostly because of harassment laws.

  • Old Mexican||

    Instead, college censorship is imposed from within.

  • ||

    Yes, more collateral damage from our amusing circus of a civil legal system.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    When the clowns pouring out from the clown-car are serving subpoenas, it's not quite so amusing.

  • ||

    Agreed. Amusing is probably not the best word. Clowns can be pretty f'ing scary.

  • Jeff||

    So what? Is your argument that a student is similarly situated to an employee? If so, you're dopey. First, when the employer is the government, you're wrong. Check out the Pickering standard if you disbelieve me. Second, students are consumers of a service - education. Employees are agents of the corporation. They are fundamentally different.

  • ||

    Your point, obviously, is that speech codes are OK. Instead of condemning the speech codes you justify them.

  • ||

    BTW, Big Government implies that David Axelrod fucks sheep. I say we sue their ass. Anyone got a suggestion as to who we should hire to represent us?

    That’s right, we have learned for example, that when David Axelrod leaves the White House every night, he finds time to stop at the Washington DC Zoo, and well, lets just say he accepts foreign donations.

    I have been asked about these charges, specifically the New York Times looked into Axelrod’s love life specifically and said that Axelrod is not putting any part of himself into foreign objects. He has been spending lots of time at the petting zoo, said the times but the only thing being stroked is his ego. There is no evidence says the Times, that David Axelrod has a “sheep” problem. Bob Schieffer of CBS News says that Axelrod’s animal problem is just peanuts.

    http://biggovernment.com/jdune.....ore-181365

  • ||

    If you think that, like the Macarena, campus speech codes were mocked into obscurity during the 1990s, think again.

    re the Macarena: Apparently, we didn't mock hard enough.

    WARNING: Video contains lethal combination of Macarena & Snuggies.

  • Joe C||

    Kinda makes me want to abort every unborn child on the chance that they may create something like that in the future.

  • My Daily Roast||

    Free Speech becomes a "Clear and Present Danger" at American Universities... Ha ha ha! Sounds absurd but obviously, it seems to be a major problem.

  • Old Mexican||

    If you think that, like the Macarena, campus speech codes were mocked into obscurity during the 1990s, think again. Approximately 71 percent of American campuses still impose highly restrictive "red light speech codes" on college students, notes Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

    As Blue Laws represent the insular nature of small towns in America (ok, some small towns, especially around the Bible Belt), "red light speech codes" represent the monastic nature (and religiosity) of modern college settings.

    It seems that as long as you just shut up and party 'till you puke, college life is the bomb.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Which is really unfortunate, considering that post-adolescents can get hammered, acquire 10 different types of STDs, and generally act like asses without going into debt by $40K or more over six years for the privilege.

  • Joe C||

    As a current college student, I can tell you that it is not. At best, wildly overrated.

  • omg||

    I think the Reason staff are a bunch of Water Buffaloes.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    Ah the 90s.

  • Jordan||

    I remember the good ole days when joe seriously tried to mock FIRE as being a bunch of conservative tools unconcerned with liberty. As opposed to the freedom loving, speechcode imposing, university administrations, nearly universally dominated by washed up hippies...

  • ||

    Come on, hippies don't wash!

  • ||

    FIRE does great work but it's fighting against the current. Living in Ann Arbor and having previously served on the faculty at U of M for more than a decade, I can personally attest to the oppressive atmosphere which chills any and all non-PC discussion about gender, race, religion and politics in academia.

    Even in private, students are deathly afraid of rendering any negative opinion regarding topics such as affirmative action.

    It's insane.

    Summers got canned as Harvard's President merely for suggesting that men and women have cognitive differences. The science and common sense are all firmly on his side but the truth doesn't seem to matter.

    My alma mater, UC Davis, even canceled a Summers appearance there due to pressure from a feminist group. UC Davis calls me up for donations (they used to anyhow) and I refuse after citing the disgraceful Summers incident.

  • Jeff||

    I think you're 100% right. The only thing I would tweak about your comment is that it isn't that "students are deathly afraid of rendering any negative opinion regarding topics such as affirmative action." The proper comment is that "white male students are deathly afraid..."

    Even in an advanced constitutional law course I took in law school, opinions from women and minorities were flung around the room without reservation. The rest of the people in the room - all of whom were white males - could have been mute for all intensive purposes. I got stuck thanks to the Socratic method answering a question about my personal feelings on AA. My response "I believe that the belief that race is a proxy for diversity is fundamentally racist, take from that what you will." I refused any further comment because saying "I don't want to be told I can't do something because I'm white" isn't an acceptable answer anymore.

  • ||

    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not surprised that free speech is basically a non-white male right on campus.

    I respect your decision to honestly state your opinion in class. It must not have been easy. I recall an undergraduate Human Sexuality course (an easy senior course for credits) taught by some feminists. They gave a hypothetical scenario on date rape where the guy apparently convinced an initially reluctant girl to have sex. There was no suggestion of coercion or force in the scenario but the instructors labeled this as date rape. I am sure that there were many males in the class, including myself, who took serious exception to this conclusion but were afraid to speak up.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It's beyond belief how much modern feminism has poisoned relationships, but when their fundamental philosophy revolves around "The State Uber Alles (When We're The Ones In Charge, That Is) and regards familial relationships as inherently dangerous and destructive, then it's probably not too surprising. Feminists have been at the forefront of encouraging male children to be drugged up with Ritalin to supress their inherent exuberance and competitiveness, while nuetering positive male role models in popular culture in favor of weak, clueless, vacilitating goons that supposedly wouldn't be able to tie their shoes, without some proxy "mother" figure to assist them for the next 50 years or so of their life.

    What's resulted, it seems, is a bipolar and inherently dysfunctional culture of masculinity that's morphed into two basic stereotypes--the Michael Cera-type beta male uber-nerd, whose personality is marked most tellingly by passive-aggressiveness; and the frat-boy party animal that runs through women like cheap tissue paper and wilds out like an adolescent well into their late 20s and early 30s,, or even later. Both are essentially reactions to the modern feminist dogma that all men are potential rapists.

  • ||

    Feminists have been at the forefront of encouraging male children to be drugged up with Ritalin to supress their inherent exuberance and competitiveness, while nuetering positive male role models in popular culture in favor of weak, clueless, vacilitating goons that supposedly wouldn't be able to tie their shoes, without some proxy "mother" figure to assist them for the next 50 years or so of their life.

    Only White Males

  • ||

    It's wonderful that a university administrator will be held personally liable for violating a student's rights, instead of the usual outcome of these sorts of cases in which the taxpayers foot the bill for official misbehavior. Censors will never see the light unless they feel the heat.

    HOORAY for FIRE!!!

  • anarch||

    Does not the principle of freedom of association legitimize the choice by any group to exclude whatever forms of expression they wish to exclude, provided they are not compelling anyone else to fund them (which schools should not), nor coercing anyone to attend?

    If I were to found a libertarian university and wanted to reserve its participants' valuable time for discussions other than whether international socialism is better or worse than national socialism, or what's the best way to arrest beer-drinkers, or which nation should the US next annex, should I not have that right? Should not studious atheists be able freely to instruct their patrons undistracted by religionists, quantum physicists allowed to insulate themselves from flat-earthers, a carnivore culinary institute be able to focus on the task they have set themselves without answering to militant vegans?

    Do we not trust the market to weed out schools that teach poorly, eg through restrictive speech codes?

    Though since I cannot be the first here to whom this question has occurred, I suspect I may be missing the point, so please enlighten.

  • d||

    Sure. Then stop taking tax payers money.

    Private schools can legally impose such restrictions. These schools are public institutions.

  • anarch||

    Is that the only problem, ie the Ministry of Culture, that I detected in my parenthesis? OK.

  • ||

    The use of public tax dollars to fund their enterprises is certainly relevant when these unversities crush freedom of speech.

    But I would also suspect that the private contract between the student and the university fails to explicitly restrict freedom of speech as part of the deal. In fact, universities typically advertise themselves as places where free thought and debate occur. That's probably why FIRE typically has success in the courts.

  • anarch||

    That's helpful, thank you.

    And now I'm wondering what objective index distinguishes the elements of debate from academic equivalents of trolling.

    This board tolerates a lot of trolling, and many participants even celebrate it - goodness, we even celebrate spambots, bless our capitalist hearts.

    Fanatics and other closed-minded people, sometimes especially da yoot (in that closed-minded oldsters are more likely to stay that way), often don't view their own filibustering and other disruptions the way others view them.

    On some blogs - or so I imagine - citing a speculation about the possibility of deism would likely earn you prompt exclusion for holding an agenda incompatible with the discussion; on others, raise a doubt about whether God wrote in Shakespearian (-era) English, and the same would happen. An expensive commitment of the best years of your clients' [ie, students'] lives would entail the responsibility to ensure their satisfaction.

    If you were a dean at Libertarian U., would you wait until your best students have quit in disgust over the four-year-long campaigns of trolls? What if speech-codes seem to valuable patrons and their administrative representatives the only way to preserve their intellectual and moral project against saboteurs?

    Again, as always: private funding, consenual participation.

  • moola||

    There are only a handful of colleges and universities in the US that are not subsidized by tax dollars to some extent. Most "private" universities are in fact hybrid public/private. The cockroach of government is into everything.

  • André||

    Was Ted's collar massively distracting to anybody else?

  • Yonemoto||

    yes, and he looked chunkier than usual. Bad shellfish reaction?

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    Personally I know a guy is gay when we meet and i feel the need to check my fly~hdfr34

  • Tony||

    I don't have a problem with this.

  • shrike||

    Me either. These Christ-fags are just wanting the "right" to say words like nigger and queer.

  • ||

    Shrike, are you a Christ-fag? You just said/wrote the words nigger and queer.

  • blogsniper||

    the problem with the 90's is not enough was mocked into obscurity sooner....you know like The Spice Girls, New Kids on the Block or The Backhole Boys

  • cellar dweller||

    I would think our society would be much better off if the free flow of ideas was allowed and then the consequences addressed, but I imagine that this would not benefit the statists. Logical discussion of these things could result in converts, instead of drones. However on the Mohammad thing in particular, recent history has proven that deaths could occur as a result of publishing. I can ALMOST understand the colleges hesitation in this area.

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    ecently Reason.tv's Ted Balaker sat down with Lukianoff to discuss the sorry

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