In a new article for The Huffington Post, FIRE’s Azhar Majeed describes the dangers that vague and overbroad “bias incident” reporting policies pose to free speech. He encourages colleges to scrap these often poorly-written policies that ban speech protected by the First Amendment, such as jokes or comments that subjectively “demean” or “belittle” another person.
Azhar points out that colleges can prevent legally actionable harassment simply by following laws already on the books. For their part, students offended by incidents of bias on campus can—and should—speak out against them. As Azhar aptly notes, that kind of debate and dialogue is one of the hallmarks of a college education:
After all, the university setting is the quintessential marketplace of ideas, where students and professors should be free to explore and debate a wide range of viewpoints, even — or perhaps especially — those that they find offensive or abhorrent.
Check out Azhar’s full recap of the biggest bias incident reporting blunders in recent memory, and his simple suggestions for eradicating bias on campus without chilling speech, over at The Huffington Post.