According to a New Year’s Eve editorial in The Augusta Chronicle (Ga.), “Free Speech Still in Peril,” censorship is alive and kicking on American university and college campuses, despite the clear mandate of the First Amendment. Highlighting FIRE’s work, the editorial explained:
Even [with the First Amendment], our free speech rights often are in peril. Lamentably, some of the most active battlefields in continuing struggle to retain the right of free speech are on college campuses. The political correctness movement has led over the years to restrictive, and quite obviously unconstitutional, speech codes aimed at eliminating speech that offends someone, particularly those deemed to be in protected classes.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (www.thefire.org), for instance, features a “speech code of the month” – last month, the speech code from the University of North Dakota, which is so vague that, as FIRE puts it, “is so vague that students have no way of knowing whether their speech or expression might inadvertently run afoul of the policy.”
While preventing harassment, racism and sexism is an important goal, it’s still constitutionally dubious to outlaw “offending” people.
I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Augusta Chronicle editorial staff, for bringing the issue of censorship on campus to your readers!