Unlearning Liberty: Censorship on College Campuses

This week Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), released his new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of the American Debate. In a New York Times piece to mark its release Lukianoff highlights the threat colleges and universities pose to students’ First Amendment rights.

Colleges and universities are supposed to be bastions of unbridled inquiry and expression but they probably do as much to repress free speech as any other institution in young people’s lives.

His book catalogues over 11 years of abuses by universities across the country who utilize civility codes and ‘free speech zones’ to limit students’ freedoms to assemble, protest and debate. Recent evidence of such infringements can be readily found:

  • At Christopher Newport University students were forbidden from protesting against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) rally. The “Freedom of Expression” rules of their student handbook did not allow exceptions to a regulation that stated that students must apply for a demonstration permit 10 days in advance- despite the fact that Mr. Ryan’s rally was only announced two days prior to his visit.
  • Jillyann Burns, a libertarian Ohio University student, was banned from putting a notice on her door that criticized both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney for being unfit for office. Residence hall advisers emailed students to tell them that “NO political posters/flyers should be hung in the hallways…until 14 days before an election.” Burns protest the ruling which has since been overturned.
  • University of Georgia student Hayden Barnes was expelled for using Facebook to peacefully protest the University’s plan to spend $30 million in student fees to construct new college parking garages. 

Lukianoff’s book delves deeper into these trends to highlight how such infringements have had hugely negative impacts on the educative experience of students. Commenting on the upcoming election Lukianoff is unsurprised by the expectation that voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds is expected to fall back to its usual low levels after 2008's unusual high. “Students can’t learn how to navigate democracy and engage with their fellow citizens if they are forced to think twice before they speak their mind.”

Reason on free speech and the work of FIRE

Video: Greg Lukianoff speaking to Reason TV about his book at July’s Freedom Fest 

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  • Cliché Bandit||

    Speaking of college censorship (not really) come see Gov. Johnson at CU Boulder on Monday at 7pm talk about Amendment 64. And himself of course. Big rally, come one come all.

  • sarcasmic||

    C'mon Kennedy, you could have put on a little makeup.

    Your face was shinier than Dunphy after he oils himself up for a workout with his buddies.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bad lighting.

  • sloopyinca||

    Kennedy's a "two-face"?

  • John||

    That is Kennedy's look. No make up, old kind of tatty clothes, looking generally like a cute soccer mom who just rolled out of bed and is off to yoga class.

  • $park¥||

    Your interns need alt-text lessons.

  • DJF||

    How can schooling occur if you allow people unauthorized by the school to say things?

  • $park¥||

    As we're covering utilitarianism, my ethics professor equated banning gay marriage because it's necessary for society to function (the ban that is) to not abolishing slavery for the same reason. Unfortunately, he then went on to mention how Che Guevara was a hero of the people.

  • sloopyinca||

  • Cytotoxic||

    That has to be one of the lest cool things I've ever seen.

  • sloopyinca||

    Yeah, but it has an option that shoots drones with little missiles out of the back if you're near a Pakistani wedding.

    Do you like it now?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I don't know about "cool", but it might beat dealing with the airlines. Can they redesign it without the ass probe?

  • $park¥||

    I think you posted the wrong link. I all saw there was some gay

  • $park¥||

    Hmm, way to break my comment squirrels.

    cont.

    NTTAWWT scooter type thing.

  • John||

    It is a high tech scooter for fat and lazy people.

  • sloopyinca||

    Fattie can't use it, though. Only lithe Jap women can use it.

  • sarcasmic||

    The women are kinda cute in a Japanese sort of way.

  • ||

    ...lets you glide around the office or the aquarium...

    Kind of an odd choice to throw in along with "office" as someplace they see so many people puttering around in.

  • ||

    Maybe if you can use it to glide around Jo-Ann Fabrics as you duck the cops I would see why that would spark your interest.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Does it get up to a high enough speed to allow efficient mailbox destruction?

  • sloopyinca||

    You know, fuck you two assholes.

    That is all.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A recall on the transmission of '04 Accords would have been a cooler thing for Honda to come up with.

  • John||

    “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” — Vice President Joe Biden to Charles Woods, grieving father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, during a memorial service at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

    Wow.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    here's a link to that story for you John

  • John||

    Thank you. God what a tasteless piece of shit.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Way to keep things solemn and tasteful, Joe.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    "That's Our Biden!" - The Media
    http://media.salon.com/2012/10.....60x307.jpg

  • ||

    Look, he just wanted to try and lighten up a bleak occasion. Can you fault him?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    He could have just propped up the corpse and did a Weekend and Bernie's skit.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Weekend AT Bernie's.

    Dammit, fingers!

  • $park¥||

    "I could tell that he was not sorry," he added. "He had no remorse."

    To be honest, the President didn't force the kid to sign up for the military. I'm not saying the kid was asking for it, but when you sign up for a dangerous job...

  • John||

    That is true. But you don't show up at a funeral and make an ass of yourself.

  • sloopyinca||

    Dude. It's Joe Biden. I'm surprised he didn't wear a clown nose.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    He's the Jar Jar Binks of politics, but that's not fair to Jar Jar

  • sloopyinca||

    I can picture Crazy Joe now, at the podium saying "Youse thinkin' yousa people gonna die?"

  • Killazontherun||

    Vice President and President unlike us are paid to not be flippant about anything. There is no excuse for his behavior.

  • $park¥||

    There's never an excuse for Biden's behavior, we agree. The piece I was commenting on was the father being upset that Obama wasn't remorseful about his son's death.

  • Killazontherun||

    You're absolutely correct. I was still shaking my head over the Biden remark to notice what you clearly stated. Obama being uncomfortable in that situation was a natural result of being in that situation.

  • tarran||

    To be honest, the President didn't force the kid to sign up for the military. I'm not saying the kid was asking for it, but when you sign up for a dangerous job...

    You know what? If I had sent one of my men to death, even if it was the right thing to do from a military standpoint, I would still show grief.

    A leader mans up. Look the guy in the eye and say, "I grieve for your son. This was a bitter loss; your son was a fine man and died a hero."

    It's not fucking rocket science. There are, unfortunately, millions of examples of commanding officers writing to the parents of dead soldiers and sailors to pick from.

    These people are unfit to be in charge of a ham sandwich, let alone people who are under military discipline.

  • Killazontherun||

    This was even more mind blowing:

    After apologizing for his loss, Woods said Clinton told him that the U.S. would “make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.”

  • The Craig||

    Yeah, but at least he didn't say binders full of women...

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    And to think, these are the people who refer to themselves as "the grownups". Good God.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    College students need to learn that freedom, like education/credentials, isn't free. Tyranny costs approximately $150 per credit hour, not including books and fees. Freedom is even more expensive.

  • sloopyinca||

    Freedom is even more expensive.

    Bullshit. It costs $1.05.

  • SIV||

    University of Georgia student Hayden Barnes was expelled for using Facebook to peacefully protest the University’s plan to spend $30 million in student fees to construct new college parking garages.

    The student was expelled from Valdosta State, not the famous Clarke County Cow College UGA.

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