Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’ on Federal Government’s Threat to Free Speech

June 17, 2011

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff is examining one of the newest dangers for free speech on campus in his latest piece for The Huffington Post. (A version of the article also appeared in The Daily Caller.) Greg argues that the new guidance for addressing sexual harassment and sexual assault cases laid out by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in an April 4, 2011, letter threatens to create "a perfect storm for rights violations" by encouraging universities to enforce overbroad harassment codes and ignore individual rights:

While OCR’s April 4 letter is aggressive and specific in requiring universities to police harassment, it took little to no notice of the fact that most university harassment policies, and many university sexual misconduct (a euphemism for various kinds of sexual assault, including rape) policies, are dangerously broad.

Indeed, since the 1980s, harassment policies have been the main vehicle for campus speech codes–that is, collegiate policies that restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. These policies don’t just sweep in a little protected speech; in some cases, they go so far as to make virtually every student on campus guilty of harassment.

To read more, visit The Huffington Post.

Cases:  U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights April 4, 2011, Guidance Letter Reduces Due Process Protections