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Good News and Bad News About Campus Speech Codes

A very brief history of the rise and fall (and potential rise again) of campus speech codes. [UPDATE: Very sorry, at first accidentally labeled this as my post -- it's actually Greg Lukianoff's & Adam Goldstein's.]

This week, we are exploring legal issues around Greg's new book with Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind.

For those of us who defend free speech on campus, the story of campus speech codes is one of good news and bad news. Most recently, the good news is that campus speech codes have been consistently and overwhelmingly (both quantitatively and qualitatively) defeated in court. The bad news, which we will discuss by example tomorrow, is that courts are increasingly dismissing speech code lawsuits for reasons that have nothing to do with the constitutionality of a particular speech code, and that could spell a reversal in the judicial trend against campus speech codes.

First, we should clarify some terms. FIRE defines a speech code as "any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large." When we talk about the campus "speech codes movement," we begin with the proliferation of speech codes in the 1980s, which followed the apparent victory of free speech on campus both in the culture and in the courts in the 1960s and 70s. (None of us assume there was ever a perfect golden age for free speech on campus, or that there weren't different kinds of codes on campus before the free speech movement.) For simplicity's sake, we are going to mainly be talking about public colleges, which are bound by the First Amendment; you can read more about our stance on private colleges here and on religious colleges here. Lastly, when we write "good news," we mean for free speech on public college campuses. If you think there is much too much free speech on campus, you probably see what we call good news as bad news, and vice versa.

Let's start with two pieces of good news/bad that set up the last 60 years of campus free speech debate and litigation. The first good news was that, starting in the late 1950s, Supreme Court (and lower court) rulings applying the First Amendment to campus were highly protective of the freedom of speech of both faculty and students. From Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957), to Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967), and up through Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169 (1972), the Supreme Court recognized the existence of an important (if hazy) notion of academic freedom. The Court also vindicated the free speech rights of students, even when they engaged in highly offensive speech or formed groups affiliated with organizations that had committed acts of violence elsewhere. Meanwhile, the first bad news was that, by the mid-1980s, some students and professors were increasingly looking for rationales to limit free speech rather than expand it. Their goal was to curtail speech they deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted or intolerant.

This was followed by the second bit of good news: these newfangled speech codes were roundly defeated in court, leading former president of the University of Virginia Robert O'Neil to declare that speech codes were essentially dead on campus after the mid '90s, having been "either given a decent burial by formal action or... allowed to expire quietly and unnoticed." Among the pallbearers: Doe v. Univ of Michigan, 721 F. Supp. 852 (E.D. Mich. 1989); UWM Post v. Board of Regents of U. of Wis., 774 F. Supp. 1163 (E.D. Wis. 1991); Dambrot v. Central Mich. Univ., 839 F. Supp. 477 (E.D. Mich. 1993); Corry v. Stanford, No. 740309 (Cal. Super. Ct. Feb. 27, 1995) (slip op.) (a case involving a private university in California, where state law prohibits private schools from making or enforcing rules that would violate the First Amendment rights of students).

The bad news is that O'Neil was wrong—from our early preliminary investigations of campus codes starting almost as soon as we were founded in 1999, it was clear that campus speech codes were alive and well. While challenged codes were struck down, more codes existed than challenges. By 2006, FIRE had grown enough that we had the staff capacity to refine and systematize our approach to evaluating speech codes on campus; we started publishing annual reports. In that first report,, in 2006, roughly 75% of the 334 universities we evaluated maintained "red light" speech codes. By "red light," we meant the institution maintained at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricted freedom of speech.

Fortunately, there's more good news, again. In a new set of lawsuits starting in 2003, some of which were coordinated by FIRE and many others by the Alliance Defending Freedom (originally known at the Alliance Defense Fund, which made some of those litigation decisions based on our speech code ratings), there has been a nearly unbroken chain of defeats for campus speech codes. Of the 61 cases filed since 2003 (that we're aware of), 36 were settled after filing but before any court decision; three were settled after non-final court decisions (such as injunctions); 11 resulted in judgments that were at least partial victories (e.g., see Doe v. Rector and Visitors of George Mason, 149 F.Supp.3d 602 (2016), where the code was not struck down but was limited to restricting fighting words, true threats, and other unprotected speech); and 11 are still pending.

FIRE has only recently begun doing any litigation in-house. So our primary weapon has always been public awareness, and public awareness campaigns also played a crucial role in reducing the number of campuses that have speech codes. Perhaps the most successful of these public awareness programs is our Speech Code of the Month feature, in which we highlight particularly ridiculous speech codes on campuses across the country.

For example, a since-revised 2016 version of the University of Missouri's publications policy required prior written consent before handing out literature on campus. This August, the highlighted code was from Ohio's Shawnee State University, which prohibited disseminating "racial" (not racist, racial) or "offensive" material — at least, it did, until the school revised it shortly after our publication. Speech Code of the Month policies are revised after we highlight them slightly more than half of the time.

As of this writing, the percentage of red light schools (colleges and universities with, as we put it colloquially "laughably unconstitutional" speech codes) is down from 75% to about 33%, and the number of "green light" schools (colleges and universities that where their "policies do not seriously imperil speech") is up from eight to an all-time high of 42. While there should be precisely zero public colleges with unconstitutional speech codes, this is real progress.

So what is the bad news? As we will discuss in the next blog post, some subtle shifts in legal decisions over the years are creating a formula for those who would like to reverse this trend. One case in particular presents the greatest immediate risk.

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  • apedad||

    Great work.

    I do have one point I find questionable.

    FIRE's standard for a red light designation is: Red Light: A red light institution is one that has at least one policy both clearly and substantially restricting freedom of speech, or that bars public access to its speech-related policies by requiring a university login and password for access.

    Not sure the second part ('bars public access. . . ") warrants a red light rating; perhaps a yellow light but red light seems too presumptuous.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, I think that's reasonable: If you require a university login and password to look at your speech related policies, you're clearly trying to hide them, and they SHOULD be presumed to be bad.

    If they were good, you wouldn't be trying to hide them.

  • apedad||

    Wow, putting that Boogeyman right out in front!

    Also this: If they were good, you wouldn't be trying to hide them.

    When did we start talking about Trump's tax returns?

  • Sarcastr0||

    What's amazing is Brett's the moderate righty here when it comes to campus speech.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm not sure what you mean by "moderate"; I'm pretty hardcore on free speech rights.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You are indeed hardcore. And from what I understand you think liberals are generally willing to lie and/or secretly working together to suppress conservative voices everywhere including on campus.

    But when it comes to school stuff you're not all in AmosArch-style who thinks public schools have become full-on cults of the religion of feminism and diversity and should all be ended. And it goes without saying you're not as far out there as TrueAltPatriot.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You understand correctly, I believe the evidence for that proposition is irrefutable.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, I'm serious: If you're rating policies, the last thing you want to do is tell the people you're rating, "If you keep your policy a secret from us, you'll get a better rating!"

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Oh, and I'm perfectly willing to believe that Trump's tax returns would not put him in the best light.

    Which is different from saying anybody has a legal right to look at them... Mark him down all you like for not publishing them!

  • bernard11||

    And how about for repeatedly promising to release them and never doing so?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Admitting there is probably material adverse evidence that Trump kept from the American People, but that's okay because it's not legally required is a helluva thing.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Cut conservatives some slack, Sarcastro. Could you imagine the increasing difficulty of training to maintain an electoral coalition for the Republican Party platform as America improves?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yeah, basically everybody has adverse evidence that they're keeping from the American people; Windows have shades, after all.

    I don't want curiosity to be used as an excuse to deprive candidates of their rights. Draw all the adverse inferences you want, just don't pass a law.

  • Sarcastr0||

    If you've decided everyone is unfit to be President, then you turn elections into contests about who can hide their true nature the best.

    This is the pattern I saw last year of taking cynicism to the point of political nihilism to rationalize defending Trump.

    Did you find this tax withholding right in the penumbras and eminations?

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    "Did you find this tax withholding right in the penumbras and eminations?"

    In that the right to privacy resides there (emanating from the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments, IIRC), I'd bite, but I don't need to. The amendments themselves let us know that -- lacking a subpoena or warrant -- one has every right to keep records or almost anything else private, hidden, out of sight, whatever one wants to call it.

    The releasing of income tax returns started in 1973, when crooked Richard Nixon released his returns for all the years since he took office, to try to convince people he was not a crook. In fact his famous "I am not a crook" line came with that release. Jimmy Carter started the trend of releasing tax returns during presidential campaigns, to show people how much cleaner he was than any previous candidate. It was a campaign stunt. It's voluntary, but everyone before Trump felt they had to comply or look bad. Trump doesn't care about what people think. He cares about what they *know*.

  • bernard11||

    Yes. Candidates have rights, and can certainly refuse to disclose their tax returns if they so desire.

    But it is quite dishonest to promise, over and over again, to disclose them and then refuse, even making up insulting excuses - "They are under audit" -for the refusal. Why, I bet someone who did that might not pay his creditors.

    Again, Brett, I'm sure you have an excuse, as you do for anything Trump does.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    You know, bernard11, I'll bet I'm not the only person in the U.S. who knew Trump would *never* release his tax returns. If I were only a tad less scrupulous I could have made good money on that dog-and-pony show.

    Of *course* Trump is dishonest. Does anyone doubt that? I'm sure a lot of his supporters knew that all along (and no, I'm not one of his f-bombing supporters). So? There was certainly more than enough evidence of that to exclude his from office, if that was the main issue. The tax return game may have been dishonest, but it was small potatoes. About three-quarters of Americans said he should show them, but really they didn't much care. 66 million of them voted for him anyway.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I do like that Pox allows for emergent rights not explicitly defined.

    But as bernard points out, some rights are waived by some choices. See 4th and airports.

    And I will note that not caring that he doesn't release them doesn't mean you don't care about what's in them. Willful blindness can be a helluva drug.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Airports are a terrible example of voluntarily waived rights. Security theater driven by the need to make people think something is being done.

    And a whole mode of travel where you have to "voluntarily" give up your 4th amendment rights to use it. A great model for reducing the 4th amendment to an irrelevancy.

    I don't care that he doesn't release them, because I didn't care when he promised to. Sure, it's disappointing that he changed his mind, but I'll care when he changes his mind about something that was a reason I voted for him.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You may think it's a bad policy, Brett, but I buy the argument that it's not unconstitutional because there's no right to travel by air.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Sarcastr0: "I do like that Pox allows for emergent rights not explicitly defined."

    And I'm happy that Sarcastr0 likes that. What? Did you think I was a hard-core originalist? My nym should dispel that thought.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Like any successful peddler of shoddy goods, Donald Trump knows his audience with exquisite precision and exploits the deficiencies.

    Trump reminds me of John R. Brinkley, for example, and Trump supporters remind me of Brinkley's patients, listeners, and fans.

    (The less you know about the underlying circumstances before watching the movie, the better "Nuts" will be. It is available without additional charge on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or maybe both.)

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Which is different from saying anybody has a legal right to look at them...

    Not anybody.

    A Congressional committee chair, however . . . .

    January is just around the corner.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Get real, a Congressional committee chair = everybody. They don't leak like a sieve, it's more like a fire hose.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    They're the people's representatives, and have privilege to disclose information for good reason.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "A Congressional committee chair, however . . . ."

    Would not have a right to look at the tax returns of a presidential candidate either.

    Congress has zero authority to vet presidential candidates.

  • wreckinball||

    The IRS has jurisdiction. And they have them.

  • Eddy||

    Trump should order an audit on himself.

    Since he can sometimes be his own worst enemy, and since the IRS has a history of auditing the President's enemies...

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    wrexkinball: "The IRS has jurisdiction"

    But they don't have authority to release them absent a subpoena or permission from the party involved.

    In fact, a bit of evidence against the power of the "deep state" is the fact that they still haven't been leaked.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Evidence against the power of the deep state, or evidence against them being incriminating...

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I believe Congressional committee chairs are expressly authorized by law to obtain and review -- and, in most if not all cases, to distribute -- any tax return for any or no reason.

    Trump fans should be fervently hoping that the next Ways & Means chair is a Republican.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Obtain and review, yes. Release, no. Except that they could not, constitutionally, be sanctioned legally for reading them out loud on the floor of Congress.

    Except by Congress itself, which certainly would sanction that, to stop the practice in its tracks; Members of Congress themselves wouldn't want to risk being subject to the same treatment.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Good Lord. So many comments on Trump's tax returns. The is a political issue, people who are unhappy with Trump's conduct vis-a-vis his tax returns are free not to vote for him.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    No one here has ever seen a tax return either. Summaries of categories of income and credits and deductions, not identifiable info about investors.

    The implication is that it will contain "Received 1 million dollars from V. Putin" is what drives these fools.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I'll settle for exposing his claims of business success and exposing his lies.

  • Rigelsen||

    Didn't someone already leak 2 pages of his 2005 tax returns? Wasn't it pretty much a nothing burger? Well, no one likes their dreams crushed.

  • wreckinball||

    Correct just like no one had the authority to release Obama's college records including his college aid applications.

    So what?

  • dwb68||

    Not sure speech codes are the New Frontier. The New Frontier appears to be bullying academics into withdrawing controversial papers. The trouble with this form of censorship is that everyone is responsible, yet no one is responsible (because many groups are involved in shutting down publication).

  • Rigelsen||

    Just the flip sides of speech codes. They butch serve to place certain classes of thought outside of community sanction.

  • Michael Cook||

    Breaking news this morning: Kim Kardashian expresses a desire to go back and get a law degree! If she shows on a campus somewhere, imagine the speech problems that will be generated, particularly the bad jokes.

    I do, however, wonder what area of the law she wishes to specialize in?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Must the Attorney General of the United States possess a law degree, or would a semester or two suffice?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The Law of The Shire?

  • gormadoc||

    She said that forever ago. Looked like she was interested in business law.

  • Rossami||

    Interesting coincidence. Just last night, I got a text from my son, a freshman at a public university that FIRE gives a yellow ranking. He said "Well, [university] as a whole seems to be okay with free speech, but I can't say the same about some of the students here. Some people in a group chat were ganging up on this one guy for making a joke that wasn't in the best taste. I stepped in to defend him and they started ganging up on me. They didn't listed to any rational arguments and eventually resorted to censorship" and apparently kicked him out of the group chat.

    On the one hand, I am proud of his strong moral compass. On the other, I am disappointed that he's had to rely on it so soon. But I think that highlights dwb68's point above - speech codes are bad but social "controls" that amount to bullying can be even more perverse.

  • bernard11||

    Not sure I understand the incident, Rossami. Was this a small informal group of students? If so, it looks like they had every right to kick the joker out if they wanted to. It's not really censorship.

    That doesn't mean I approve, or that it was justified just because of a joke in somewhat bad taste, and I think your son did well to defend the joker.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Eh, it's cool for a freshman to be high on self-righteousness about minor stuff out of a broader sense of philosophical principal. Part of the process of growing up. Comes from the same place as the vehement protests on campus, IMO - the heady mix of self-assured youth and newfound freedom.

    I don't know that it's worth the dad dwelling on it, and if the kid continues to find himself getting socially isolated after arguments he's having, then we have a failure to learn problem.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Indeed, he'd best learn how to keep his views hidden, it will help keep him out of the camps later. ;)

  • Sarcastr0||

    There's a lot of ground between keeping your views hidden and being so fervent about them people can't stand to be around you.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Not as much as you'd think, depending on how intolerant the people around you are of differing opinions.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I see your externally-based limiting factor, and add to it the internally-based limiting factor of having tact.

    If you see yourself in a situation where your principals require you to alienate your group, that could be a principled, virtuous stand. If that happens to you often, the problem isn't this fallen world, it's that you're an asshat.

  • apedad||

    HA!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Or your group are asshats, as the case may be.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Heh.
    Your group would hopefully be shifting. Presumably you aren't just alienating the same group over and over.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    BINGO!

  • FlameCCT||

    "If that happens to you often, the problem isn't this fallen world, it's that you're an asshat."

    Or the corollary: If that happens to you often, the problem isn't this fallen world, it's that you're with a group of asshats.

    ;-)

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "There's a lot of ground between keeping your views hidden and being so fervent about them people can't stand to be around you."

    There wasn't much ground between keeping you sexual preference hidden, and being so public about it that people couldn't stand to be around you.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Hah! Cleverly done! I assume this was a DADT reference?

    These days, there may be no force of law, but if someone insists on continually talking about their sexuality, I may not hang out with them all that much regardless of what direction they swing.

  • Rossami||

    Good afternoon, bernard11. As I understand it (and remember that my information is at best second-hand), the issue was not that the joker was being kicked out but that the other students were bullying him. At least, that is how it was perceived.

    The joker was allowed to stay in the group. My son, however, was apparently kicked out. I don't know how much of this is sour-grapes but he commented afterward that he didn't want to be in such a "backwards and irrational" group anyway. Definitely a learning experience.

    And yes, I believe it was a small informal group so it was not government-directed censorship. But I will again echo dwb68's comment above that social intolerance that leads to de facto censorship can be just as bad for society - and maybe worse because it's harder to fix.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Perhaps the joker apologized and the classmates concluded the joker was not an irredeemable jerk?

  • VinniUSMC||

    Defending someone being bullied = irredeemable jerk to backwards and intolerant shills like Artie.

  • wreckinball||

    If the "cool kids" don't like you they can kick you out of their little circle. But the U can't expel you for it..

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    For simplicity's sake, we are going to mainly be talking about public colleges,

    Disregarding the most severe campus censorship is simply too tempting for some observers.

  • Eddy||

    Well, we can't expect any better of the goober colleges, can we? We hold those colleges which are in the liberal/libertarian tradition, to higher standards.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why can't we expect better? People can improve, and learn to respect reason, science, modernity, tolerance, education, and progress. Institutions can improve, too.

  • Eddy||

    You managed to stoop low enough that the obvious sarcasm went over your head.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It wasn't sarcasm. The goobers hold their betters to higher standards. That's part of the path to half-educated, gullible gooberdom.

  • Eddy||

    I think I would know when I'm being sarcastic.

    Or did your superior education include training at the Psychic Academy for Mind-Reading?

  • NToJ||

    "Why can't we expect better?"

    Because freedom of association is important.

  • apedad||

    I looked up numbers of public and private colleges/universities and...hmmmm....

    Under Postsecondary Title IV degree granting institutions (2015), there were 1,620 public institutions (2 and 4 year) schools and 2,963 private institutions (2 and 4 year, profit and non-profit).

    Didn't know that.

  • VinniUSMC||

    And there's Artie, ignoring the difference between public and private, as always. Carry on clinger.

  • apedad||

    C'mon Vinni, try to keep up will ya...

    Artie was HIGHLIGHTING the difference between public and private institutions, not ignoring it.

  • VinniUSMC||

    And here's one of Artie's faithful cheerleaders.

    Keep telling yourself that.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The right-wing ankle-biters nip at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia as much as they whine about Berkeley, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They distinguish liberal-libertarian and strong from conservative and weak, not public from private.

    Other than that, Vinni, nice try.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Or you could try actually reading the FIRE policy, conveniently linked in the article above. But that would be too hard for someone as intelligent as you. Just keep mind reading.

    Carry on clinger.

  • jslinner||

    remember when eugene was saying what private schools ought to do about speech he doesnt like:

    "the heckling, which seems like an organized attempt to keep Blackman from speaking, is something much worse -- something that universities ought to punish"

  • Rigelsen||

    Your right to free speech doesn't include the right to drown someone else out. Study up on the heckler's veto and what the Supremes have said about it. Unless you're just trying to make a stupid joke.

  • Longtobefree||

    The good news: Free speech is a constitutionally guaranteed individual right.
    The bad news: Colleges don't care.

    Free history lesson: The domino theory was correct. Those who said the first amendment would come under the same kind of attack as the second amendment were also right.

    Assignment for the reader: Figure out which right is next for a full frontal attack by the statists.

  • wreckinball||

    "The bad news: Colleges don't care."

    Agree. Since we have a Dept of Ed might as well use it. Issue edicts regarding free speech that if violated will cause revocation of federal funds.

    They will care then.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    "Colleges don't care"

    But public institutions can at least be held accountable via First Amendment-based lawsuits.

    Private institutions are a thornier problem, but there's always the issue of contracts law. Otherwise, all you've got is bringing in some sunshine and using public humiliation. But -- AAUP has used that for years, and some schools just can't get around to bothering.

  • wreckinball||

    Those who do not support 1A are pretty resilient apparently. The statistics are pretty encouraging. I am curious about how the non-1Aers will skirt the issue. Typical is to judge shop to get some ridiculous ruling.

    If that is the ploy it may take an unambiguous body slam by SCOTUS to put it o rest.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The statistics are encouraging, but you still want to start defunding schools who don't toe the line fast enough.

    As for a SCOTUS body slam, how did that work out for school prayer? Lots of cases about mandatory 'moments of silence' even these days. (Or there were about a decade ago when last I had access to check)

  • wreckinball||

    1A is pretty absolute so its not so much of a mystery. How long did Obama give folks on his "Dear Colleague" edict mandating campus kangaroo courts?

    And the downside is? Oh the horror you will hear stuff you don't like!

    Give them one school year and then revoke their credit card.

  • Sarcastr0||

    1A ain't absolute. There's an entire body of jurisprudence about the contours of that right and how it interacts with other rights and it's own internal rights.

    Time, place, and manner. Expressive association. Libel. Obscenity. Forum analysis. And then there are remedy analysis.
    Rights are some awesome liberty technology, but they are not simple because humans are not simple.

    The Constitution, and our society's basis in liberty, require that public schools get rid of their speech codes. I'm not for defunding schools as a legitimate method, given the cost/benefit. And as the stats above indicate, both ideas can be held at the same time.

  • Sarcastr0||

    1A ain't absolute. There's an entire body of jurisprudence about the contours of that right and how it interacts with other rights and it's own internal rights.

    Time, place, and manner. Expressive association. Libel. Obscenity. Forum analysis. And then there are remedy analysis.
    Rights are some awesome liberty technology, but they are not simple because humans are not simple.

    The Constitution, and our society's basis in liberty, require that public schools get rid of their speech codes. I'm not for defunding schools as a legitimate method, given the cost/benefit. And as the stats above indicate, both ideas can be held at the same time.

  • Sarcastr0||

    1A ain't absolute. There's an entire body of jurisprudence about the contours of that right and how it interacts with other rights and it's own internal rights.

    Time, place, and manner. Expressive association. Libel. Obscenity. Forum analysis. And then there are remedy analysis.
    Rights are some awesome liberty technology, but they are not simple because humans are not simple.

    The Constitution, and our society's basis in liberty, require that public schools get rid of their speech codes. I'm not for defunding schools as a legitimate method, given the cost/benefit. And as the stats above indicate, both ideas can be held at the same time.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Okay! Okay! We heard you the first time!

    (sorry - couldn't resist)

  • Sarcastr0||

    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P

  • librarian||

    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P
    :-P ... oh shit I ruined it

  • wreckinball||

    Its pretty absolute. Exclusions are inciting a riot and direct confrontational "fighting words". But splitting hairs is how tyrants justify suppressing free speech.

  • wreckinball||

    Its pretty absolute. Exclusions are inciting a riot and direct confrontational "fighting words". But splitting hairs is how tyrants justify suppressing free speech.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I disagree. There's all sorts of balancing tests beyond those exceptions (which are balancing tests themselves, really)!
    Limited public fora, time/place/manner, Tinker, protester limitations, different rights for political/commercial expression. And that's just the Speech Clause.

    Just like any other body of law that has built up through a changing history, it's tangled. I wrote a paper on this back in the day, so sorry to geek out a bit.

    The contours of the Second Amendment are pretty interesting in part because they are so new and thus so weirdly smooth in comparison.

  • DavidTaylor||

    @wreckinball writes "Typical is to judge shop to get some ridiculous ruling."

    Got any examples?

    Speech codes and other violations of first amendment rights on campus are distressing, of course, but I suspect that other violations of constitutional rights, such as voting, will have greater impact:

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.c.....peech.html

  • wreckinball||

    Whose voting rights are being violates and PLEASE don't say blacks because they are too dumb to get an ID.

  • jslinner||

    "For those of us who defend free speech on campus"

    HAHAHAHAHA. Good one, Eugene. You previously said a private school should've punished the speech of some protesters. Don't kid yourself. You're the opposite of a defender of free speech.

  • David Nieporent||

    Actually, he said that they should have punished the acts of some protesters.

  • Rigelsen||

    He appparently believes the right to free speech includes the right to shut down and prevent other people's speech.

  • jslinner||

    talking over someone preventing anothers speech

  • jslinner||

    Behold: Eugene the "defender of free speech..."

    "the HECKLING, which seems like an organized attempt to keep Blackman from speaking, is something much worse -- something that universities OUGHT TO PUNISH"

  • Eddy||

  • Eddy||

    I notice that the heckling diminishes after the law-school official warns the hecklers they might get disciplined.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    So either he supports the right of people to sound off air horns during lectures, or, in your eyes, he's a hypocrite.
    Solid reasoning.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    jslinner: "You previously said a private school should've punished the speech of some protesters. Don't kid yourself. You're the opposite of a defender of free speech."

    Yes, Of course! Shutting down a speech is protected speech. To believe otherwise is a thoughtcrime. And while we're at it, war is peace.

  • Rigelsen||

    The heckler's veto is not part of the right of free speech. As the Supremes have recognized and any liberal worth his name should understand.

  • VinniUSMC||

    People like jslinner believe that anything stopping speech that they don't like is perfectly acceptable.

  • jslinner||

    talking over someone stopping them from speaking

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