University Violates Its Own Speech Code; Free Speech Group Discovers a Drawback to Pointing This Out

Free expression takes a blow at the University of New Mexico.


There is no subtext here, just text. In honor of that, there will be no alt-text here either.
UNM Women's Resource Center

How loosely worded is the University of New Mexico's sexual harassment policy? Its ban on "displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters" has just one exception—for "art displayed in museums"—and even then "the situation will be evaluated for appropriateness." Last week Samantha Harris, an attorney at the civil libertarian Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), pointed out one consequence of a restriction so broad: The university's own Women's Resource Center was violating it.

September 29–Oct 2 is "Sex Week" at UNM—a weeklong series of programs for students including "Negotiating Successful Threesomes," "O-Face Oral" and "BJs and Beyond." Sex Week is sponsored in part by the university's Women's Resource Center. Sex Week also violates the university's own speech codes, since even the titles of the workshops—and thus any Sex Week promotional materials—are "sexually suggestive."

At the time Harris was writing, the university was defending the event against offended conservatives by invoking the value of free expression. Harris offered the obvious response: "If UNM truly believes what it is saying…why does it maintain unconstitutional speech codes that prohibit exactly the kind of speech at issue here?"

If the university was listening, it learned the wrong lesson. Harris' colleague Susan Kruth picks up the story:

UNM released a statement on Wednesday apologizing for "the inclusion of topics that are sensational and controversial." Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo Torres promises in the statement, "We will do a better job in the future of vetting and selecting programs offered through campus groups."

Needless to say, freedom of speech does not require a public university to sponsor such an event, as opposed to merely allowing it to take place. But it's dispiriting to watch the college plunge from praising free speech to apologizing for being "controversial." (God forbid that there be controversy on campus.) This clearly isn't an institution on the verge of rethinking its rules.

On the bright side, I haven't seen any reports of anyone being charged with harassment for posting a Sex Week flier on a bulletin board.

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  1. I’m not seeing an contradiction here.

    The university consistently opposes free speech.

    1. They just want a broad rule that says they can punish anyone they don’t like. It can never be used against the administration, because the administration makes the rules and enforces them.

  2. This is what happens when you start fucking around with people’s rights and getting involved where you have no business.

    Rape is a criminal matter and it is not the business of ANY university to involve itself with the personal business of its students. Public universities have no power to do so. Private universities do, but would be stupid to do so.

    You are there to provide and education. Do so, and shut the fuck up.

    1. The argument goes like this; the girl is to scared to go to the justice system because she would have to go to court, so the school should take care of the problem protecting the girl from any kind responsibility that goes with leveling a criminal claim, by kicking the “aggressor” out. The sheep they have filling out their ranks just can’t seem to grasp the ramifications of what they are pushing and the people leading the charge are men haters.

      1. “The Sheep . . . ramifications . . . pushing . . . ‘

        Did you do that on purpose?

        1. What are ewe implying?

        2. Like any good author I will take credit for whatever themes/motifs you draw from my work. Like a Shakespearean work it is irrelevant if what you felt that the message conveyed to you was done on purpose, because it has ascended meaning.

          -every English teacher ever.

          1. “If you’ve seen a deeper meaning in my work – you’re stupid and delusional, because I didn’t put any there.”

            — Me.

          2. In my eight grade English class we spent 45 minutes discussing why Tolkien made the door to Bilbo’s house green. My suggestion that maybe it’s just a door was not accepted.

  3. I’m kind of curious about the “How to be a gentleman AND get laid” event. Or at least I would have been in college. Now I’m not interested in either of them.

    1. Pay for it?

      1. You don’t pay to get laid, you pay ’em to leave when you’re done.

      2. worked for Richard Gere

        1. It helps to look like Richard Gere, however.

  4. On the bright side, I haven’t seen any reports of anyone being charged with harassment for posting a Sex Week flier on a bulletin board.

    Given your article, I wouldn’t mention that possibility too loudly.

    1. Especially since I feel that flier is truly offensive.

  5. “O Face Oral”? “BJs and Beyond”?

    Why didn’t I get those classes when I was in college?!?!? We got campus movie night and trips to the Kennedy Center during orientation.

    1. I took “BJs and Beyond” my freshman year. I worked hard in that class. My jaw was sore all semester.

    2. We (male freshmen) got the “sex while drinking is rape…even if you’ve both been drinking it’s your fault” sex seminar. It was mandatory.

      Then it was mandatory again when you pledged a fraternity.

      Then it was mandatory again as an officer in your fraternity…with every incoming pledge class.

      1. Yep, I had to attend that seminar a couple months back for being an officer in the federalist society at law school. You know, because of all the keggers we throw or something. I told my wife that she had to sign forms in triplicate and initial and date the paper every 3 minutes if she wanted sex that night. She wasn’t nearly as amused at that suggestion as I was.

        1. Perhaps we should require all sexual participants to wear “sex cams” to fully document everything that occurs, just as there is a movement for cops to do the same thing.

          These would have to be archived in a safe place (perhaps “in the cloud”) in case there is a question down the line.

      2. And then everyone promptly ignores it, of course. People who go out and have drunken sexual hookups are generally people who want to go out and have drunken sexual hookups.

  6. On the other bizarre hand ol’ Eliseo “Cheo” Torres teaches “Traditional Medicine Without Borders“. I guess if you aren’t working with traditional fucking weeds growing near lizards you better make sure nothing you engage in on campus is sensational, controversial, or pushes boundaries (Jesus Christ forbid!).

    What a massive pile of bread pudding. His balls were long ago washed down the proverbial collegiate drain.

  7. There were snacks provided for the O-face Oral workshop. Heh.

    1. Jawbreakers, Gummy Worms and Fun Dip.

  8. What, umm, is “O-face oral” exactly? I’m asking for a, you know, friend.

    1. “Vinegar Strokes oral” didn’t test well with the focus group.

    2. Something you might get from that new chick in Logistics.

    3. Don’t search ‘o-face oral’ using google images unless you enjoy being batted in the face with troubling images.

    4. I think that’s a class for inexperienced college boys on finding the clit.

  9. Well played alt-text.

  10. why does it maintain unconstitutional speech codes that prohibit exactly the kind of speech at issue here?”

    Because it’s ok when proggies do it. Also, FYTW.

  11. Speech code: stupid and violative of the First Amendment
    University response: even scarier–what wimps

    But when the DoJ is breathing down the necks of college administrators to effectively preclude any form of consensual sex without a written, sober-signed contract, is it wise to be presenting topics like these? Just askin’.

    September 29?Oct 2 is “Sex Week” at UNM?a weeklong series of programs for students including “Negotiating Successful Threesomes,” “O-Face Oral” and “BJs and Beyond.” Sex Week is sponsored in part by the university’s Women’s Resource Center. Sex Week also violates the university’s own speech codes, since even the titles of the workshops?and thus any Sex Week promotional materials?are “sexually suggestive.”

  12. Any word on the acceptability of “Greek Week” at UNM?

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