NEIU’s Proposed Speech Code on ‘Inside Higher Ed’

December 23, 2008

Inside Higher Ed has an article today on proposed new speech restrictions at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). The proposed policy "would require protesters to submit copies of fliers and signs to administrators two weeks before bringing them on the campus." As we mentioned last week on The Torch, the policy would also create a free speech zone on campus, limiting demonstrations to particular times and places.

Asked about the proposed policy, NEIU President Sharon Hahs became the latest in a long line of university administrators to shamefully use the Virginia Tech shootings as a justification for impermissible restrictions on campus speech:

Asked about the rationale for prior review of materials, Hahs said Northeastern Illinois administrators are addressing potential security concerns. Particularly in the wake of recent shootings on college campuses, administrators are "expected to know" about activities on university grounds, she said.

"One of the pieces of information that might be helpful some day, some time, is what groups are on your campus and what materials are they handing out," Hahs said.

Disturbingly, Inside Higher Ed reports that the proposed policy has already garnered the support of NEIU’s Student Government Association, but the Faculty Senate appears to be holding out at least for the time being. As the article also mentions, FIRE has already spoken out against the policy, and will continue to monitor the developing situation at NEIU and keep the public informed.

Schools:  Northeastern Illinois University