In response to an “offensive” Halloween party, John Hopkins University President William R. Brody recently released a statement denouncing the party and outlining several diversity initiatives that will take place as a result. Perhaps the most troubling part of this plan is the emphasis on Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All which mandates that “[r]ude, disrespectful behavior is unwelcome and will not be tolerated.” This new speech code runs completely counter to a very core concept of a university—the marketplace of ideas. It is impossible to present a wide array of ideas without, at one point in time, seeming rude or disrespectful to at least one person.
Let’s hope that JHU realizes that this new code will simply not work in a university setting. Stay tuned for more updates as FIRE continues to monitor the situation.