Penn State Sexual Harassment Code Stifling Free Speech?

December 10, 2014

By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow

After a Pennsylvania university adopted a sexual harassment code that it administered with good intentions, many are finding that it actually threatens the free speech rights of its students.

Robert Shibley, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), says the Pennsylvania State University policy is so broad, it prohibits tremendous amounts free speech. He says it was patterned after the settlement the government reached with the University of Montana regarding their sexual assault policies.

“Its settlement with Montana would be a blueprint for all schools, and unfortunately, in what it called that blueprint, it included what unfortunately is starting to become a national speech code that violates the Constitution,” Shibley explained.

Shibley says the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education has backed away from the blueprint idea. The problem with this is that they haven’t told colleges and universities that fact.

“While they told us about it, and we’ve tried to tell everybody, ‘Until they come out and say, you know what, that’s not a blueprint. We don’t expect you to have an unconstitutional speech code,’ I think a lot of schools are going to go ahead and do try to do it,” Shibley shared.

Shibley says schools are too ready to comply with every mandate of the federal government because if they don’t, the feds can withhold funding, including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.

Schools: Pennsylvania State University – University Park