Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Speech Codes, vs. Freedom of Speech

It has been the thing the last several years for universities to pass speech codes in the name of diversity, that when pushed in courts of law almost always fail because they are infringements of the first amendment.

Douglas Kern over at Tech Central Station
wisely notes: Big academia promulgates the illusion of free speech while quietly enforcing the de facto reality of opinion censorship. A great example of this has been the brohaha over Larry Summers at Harvard mentioning that statisically, men do better at maths than women, and as a result there are fewer women in the math and science fields in acadamia as a result. The data is there, it is a real fact, but he has spent the last half year it seems apologizing for stating what it true because uts not acceptable speech in his circles. Opinion (even backed by the facts) censorship.

Mike Adams tells us this story about the University of Alabama:

Last semester, the faculty senate at the University of Alabama (UA) passed an Orwellian speech code designed to restrict “any behavior that demeans or reduces an individual based on group affiliation or personal traits, or which promotes hate or discrimination.”

Anyone armed with an 11th grade education can see that such a speech code is unconstitutional. Indeed, many of the UA “diversity initiatives” such as the Vagina Monologues would be banned under such a code, if the university had any intention of applying the code equally. Come to think of it, booing an Auburn football player would be banned under the code, too.

There evidently is some double talk that they are using this as a way of not being obligated to pay for performances that the faculty deems offensive and that they never intended to really use it as a speech code.

The student senate, though, isn't buying it. They recently passed the following:

WHEREAS the right to free speech is an inalienable human and civil right that is protected by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of

WHEREAS free speech is absolutely vital to the mission of any university, where new and often controversial ideas must be discussed openly and rationally in order to make advances in knowledge;

WHEREAS the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama has recently passed a resolution urging the University of Alabama to regulate the speech of students at the University of Alabama;

WHEREAS speech codes have been used by other colleges and universities to silence dissenting speech, not merely so-called “hate speech”, and to persecute those with unpopular opinions;

WHEREAS there are currently numerous legal challenges pending against such speech codes, and the adoption of such a speech code at the University of Alabama would invite a lawsuit against the University that would be costly and would greatly tarnish its public image;

WHEREAS in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it”;

WHEREAS by defending free speech for all students, one in no way condones any kind of hate or intolerance; On the contrary, one is promoting tolerance of others despite their differences, especially their differences of opinion;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the University of Alabama Student Senate most strongly urges the Administration and the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama to refrain from adopting any form of speech code, even one that purports to ban only so-called “hate speech”;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the University of Alabama Student Senate most strongly urges the Administration and the Faculty Senate to adopt policies that explicitly protect free speech for all students at the University of Alabama;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT copies of this resolution also be sent to Dr.
Robert Witt, President of the University of Alabama, Dr. John Mason, President of the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa News, the Crimson White and Dateline Alabama for informational purposes.

I do not know why, really, that universities, once the bastion of free thinking, became a hothouse of totalitarian behavior done in the name of liberty, but example of example of this subjugation of the academic ideal has been in the news as of late.

Who will suffer for it? America>

Who is fighting it? Liberty loving Americans, especially the young.

And that is a wonderful thing to see.

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