James Madison Piles on Speech Restrictions, Losing ‘Green Light’ Rating

September 19, 2014

By Greg Piper at The College Fix

By enacting an undefined “bullying” policy, 48-hour preregistration requirement for student demonstrations and other speech-chilling policies – and breaking its vow to “fully comply” with its First Amendment obligations to students – James Madison University has lost its stellar rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The group downgraded JMU to “yellow light” from its previous “green” rating for excellent speech protections, saying the school failed to heed “several warnings” from the group over the past two years – despite the university’s general counsel promising a policy review last November:

For example, the term “bullying”—left wholly undefined by JMU—could prohibit a wide variety of offensive but protected speech. And the university’s “Right of Expression” policy, which requires students to register any speeches or demonstrations at least 48 hours in advance, impermissibly interferes with students’ ability to hold a spontaneous demonstration in response to unfolding events.

A full list of JMU’s policies affecting speech can be found at its “spotlight” page on the foundation’s website. One of them bans “telling sexual or dirty jokes” or “rating” other people’s “sexual activity or performance.”

Read the full blog post here.

Schools: James Madison University