Students Get to ‘Choose’ Between Very Little Free Speech, Even Less Free Speech

January 22, 2015

By Robby Soave at Reason Online

The University of Kentucky student government might be a dictatorship, but at the very least, it’s a benevolent one. Student leaders have decided to permit mere peasants to express their preference for one of two free speech policies: the restrictive one, or the very restrictive one.

Well, that’s not exactly right. There is a third choice: ‘No preference.’

The survey was approved by a faculty advisor at UK and emailed to the student body at large. It asked students to answer a set of questions; the 18th pertained to the university’s speech code. “What is your preferred University policy on free speech on campus?” it asked. Here were the possible answers:

  • A single designated free speech zone in a specific location on campus
  • Multiple designated free speech zones in various locations across campus
  • No preference

Despite being part of a survey, the question should come with a single correct answer:Free speech is guaranteed on all campus property under the First Amendment and should be encouraged everywhere by an institution of higher learning, you unbelievable tyrants.Needless to say, this wasn’t listed as one of the three possible responses.

Campus Reform‘s Kaitlyn Schallhorn reports that students who answered the survey were entered to win “lower-level basketball tickets” or a $250 scholarship. Anyone who doeswin should take the tickets (their questionable altitude notwithstanding); the sort of education provided by an institution that doesn’t respect students’ most fundamental constitutional isn’t worth the cash.

Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes that free speech “zones” are dying in court and state legislatures, since they muzzle students in blatantly illegal ways. Still:

The message this sends is that UK students are expected not only to tolerate restrictions on speech but to prefer them over a truly open campus. If that’s true, talk about unlearning liberty!

Hey, at least they’re giving students options. Two whole options. (Three, if you count ‘no preference’!) What more could they want? The student government can’t just let the plebeians talk freely wherever and whenever intelligent thoughts spring to mind, obviously. That would truly be anarchy.

Schools: University of Kentucky