One would think that a university that has a law school could grasp something a simple as the First Amendment, but you would be wrong if you thought that. Censorship and discrimination against conservatives, Jews, Christians and other groups not in favor with the radical left are under some form of attack at our public universities. This problem is so huge that there are at least half a dozen civil rights organizations that use most ore all of their resources fighting just this type of illegal discrimination; and they are so overwhelmed with cases that they have to be selective on what cases to draw attention to.
If you thought college was a place for young people to speak out, challenges one another’s deeply-held beliefs and grow intellectually, chances are you’ve never been to Indiana University Southeast.
The school, located just 10 miles north of Louisville, Ky., is the latest college to see its speech code come under fire from a group that advocates freedom of speech on campuses. One stipulation in the code requires that students may only “express opinions” within a free speech zone, which is antithetical to what a college should stand for, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an advocacy organization which defends the free speech and due process rights of college students.
“It’s the price you pay for living in a free society,” Robert Shibley, Senior Vice President of FIRE, told FoxNews.com.”The entire enterprise of a university is to express scholarly thoughts and opinions…restraints on that are impossible.”
The broad regulation probably doesn’t even state what its clumsy crafters meant it to say, said Samantha Harris, FIRE director of speech code research.
“IUS almost certainly doesn’t mean this–if you want to tell your friend that you think it’s hot outside, you have to go to the zone to do it…it’s an indicator of just how poorly written and unconstitutional this policy is,” she said.
IUS’s code also requires university approval for acts of ‘expressed opinions’ by submitting an application at least five days in advance.
But the school defended the speech code, expressing concern the exercise of First Amendment rights outside designated zones could disrupt others’ pursuit of an education.
“[The guidelines] were intended to provide some guidance on the issue so that those wishing to gather and express an opinion could do so without endangering people or property,” the school told FoxNews.com in a statement. “The guidelines also were intended to protect the rights of all students to have unfettered access to educational activities on campus (in other words, the exercise of free speech rights should not result in blocking access to buildings or disrupting classes or campus events).”
The university also said that it has never had any complaints about the policy since its implementation in 2004, and it welcomes the FIRE’s feedback.
“We have to regulate other groups who come from off campus. Some come and preach a lot of hate. We just can’t have them wandering around campus with bullhorns over here,” Joseph Wert, associate professor of Political Science and Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Indiana University Southwest, told FoxNews.com.
Yup, and Joseph Wert had to get a PhD. to come up with that one. Professor Wert you are an idiot, and you are even more of an idiot if you think that anyone is going to fall for such an excuse. First of all, the First Amendment has never been construed by the courts to allow what is known as a “heckler’s veto” meaning that the speech in question is not so much about content as it is about disrupting the lawful activities of others. Your university speech code is written in such a way to adjust the universities illegal reaction depending on the content of the speech; meaning that “Students for Pushing Israel Into the Sea” get a prominent place to hold their speech event, but “Students Against Abortion” get to have their event in a tiny room no one can find. College administrators and professors like Joeseph Wert gets lots of practice making the totally unreasonable sound reasonable.
That is why the policy is written so broadly and poorly, so that it can be used for selective enforcement. There are countless cases of FIRE and other groups helping students who have had such speech codes used against them illegally. This is why FIRE in league with other groups have been suing universities to have such speech codes thrown out by the courts. Universities know about these lawsuits, but too often they go to court anyways knowning full well they are going to lose only for the purpose of forcing civil rights groups to expend more resources. After all it’s only your tax dollars funding your local university.