The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

"Snowflakes All Around"?


From the Eleventh Circuit panel decision allowing a First Amendment claim based on Univ. of Central Florida's "bias-related incidents policy" to proceed:

There is, we observe, a certain irony in the facts (1) that UCF created the JKRT [Just Knights Response Team] to address situations in which students felt intimidated or marginalized and (2) that now, Speech First's members claim to have been intimidated and marginalized by the JKRT—"kind of like … snowflakes all around." Oral Arg. at 10:10–10:51. We asked Speech First's lawyer at oral argument why everyone shouldn't just "put on their big boy and big girl pants" and deal with some adversity.

His answer, we think, captures a valid distinction: "The state is a really big boy." The University—i.e., the state—can far more easily intimidate, and thereby objectively chill, college students than can those students' peers. And objective chill is the standard.