Check out FIRE’s own Luke Sheahan’s op ed in The Triangle Online, the web edition of Drexel University’s student newspaper. Drexel had the dubious distinction of being September’s Speech Code of the Month. Its policies ban “the use of derogatory names,” “inconsiderate jokes” and “inappropriately directed laughter.” As Luke points out:
What is an “inconsiderate joke”? Pretty much any joke that is funny. Jokes make light of someone or something. So at Drexel, not only can you not tell a joke (since it would almost always be considered inconsiderate by someone, somewhere), but you can’t laugh at one either (since that laughter would be inappropriately directed). These bungling attempts to stifle offense on campus only harm Drexel’s credibility as an educational institution dedicated to free expression. Despite promises of free speech and academic expression contained in the harassment policy, if you can’t laugh at a joke, let alone tell one, speech and even your thoughts are not free.