The second season of FIRE’s podcasting series, FIREside Chats, kicks off with Samantha Harris’ December 26 interview on NewsTalk 680 WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. Samantha is FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research.
During the interview, Samantha discusses speech codes in the University of North Carolina System, FIRE’s Spotlight on Speech Codes Report, and the incident that recently occurred in the Free Expression Tunnel at North Carolina State, where racist remarks about President-elect Obama were spray painted.
The interviewers, Rick and Donna Martinez, have also written a blog post today on their interview with Samantha, where they discuss the repercussions of speech codes and the study commission UNC President Erskine Bowles has created to monitor the Free Expression Tunnel incident. They write:
It is alarming that in America — a country whose founders were willing to die for freedom, including the right to speak their minds without retribution from government — some people are so easily [led] down a path toward government coercion and government-enforced silence.
The views painted in the NC State Free Expression Tunnel were offensive, rude, close-minded, and vulgar. They have been exposed and denounced, and the people who wrote them have been embarrassed. That is the way to handle offensive speech. Silencing people is the last thing we should do.
Thankfully, the organization known as FIRE – Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — is monitoring the Bowles commission.
You can listen to the entire interview here. Be sure to check The Torch for the latest happenings at NC State.