Campus Free Speech

University of Illinois Activists Want to Punish Students for 'Non-Inclusive' Behavior, Theme Parties

Hate speech should result in 'consequences, repercussions, whatever you want to call it,' says student government.


U of I
Public Domain

The student government at the University of Illinois discussed a bill earlier this week that would call on the administration to mandate "substantial consequences" for any student or group found guilty of "non-inclusive" behavior.

In defense of the bill, Student Senate Vice President Spencer Haydary said that free speech isn't absolute, and that hate speech should result in "consequences, repercussions, whatever you want to call it," according to The Daily Illini.

The bill asks the administration "to create more substantial consequences for communities, such as registered student organizations, registered organizations, related organizations, and Greek organizations, involved in behavior that is not culturally inclusive, engaged in acts of intolerance, or engaged in acts that violate community standards."

Campus Reform reports that the bill came in a response to activist demands for formal sanctions against a fraternity and sorority that hosted a theme party at which some guests wore sombreros.

Illinois's Student Senate has no actual power—thank goodness—and so the bill isn't actually much of a threat to free speech on campus. Still, it's illustrative of the stupidity of the kind of person who gets elected to the Student Senate. Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court has never recognized a "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment: public universities are unquestionably required to permit students to engage in kinds of expression that other people might subjectively describe as hateful.