Pressure continues to build in reaction to last week’s mandate from the Departments of Justice and Education regarding sexual harassment on campus.
Following up on Robert Shibley’s article for The Daily Caller, FIRE’s co-founder Harvey Silverglate has co-authored a piece with Juliana DeVries for Minding the Campus, which argues that the new mandate guarantees that "[n]either justice nor education will be well served." In fact, Silverglate and DeVries explain that the new guidance will firmly "establish a culture of censorship and self-censorship on our nation’s campuses." Last night, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff aired similar concerns on HuffPost Live, discussing how the mandate’s shocking overreach will wreck havoc on campus. Viewers can catch Greg’s perspective here.
Others have joined the chorus as well. On his site The Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh points out that the new definition of sexual harassment put forth by the government "is not limited to material that a reasonable person would find offensive." As a result, Volokh argues that "[e]very instance of such material of a ‘sexual nature,’ under the government’s approach, would be ‘sexual harassment’ and would need to be banned." Syndicated columnist Mona Charen echoes this point in a column today, explaining that harassment is now "entirely subjective." Under the new definition, virtually every student on campus will be guilty of harassment on a regular basis. The Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto accurately lampooned such a result as "Life Imitat[ing] ‘South Park’." Sadly, a hypothetical case of Everyone v. Everyone may not be so far-fetched in the wake of the DOE/DOJ letter. (Given that it’s "South Park," this video has some strong language and may not be appropriate for work.)
We encourage readers to learn more about the new federal mandate from these reports and the additional articles highlighted below. More importantly, we encourage you to take action by telling the government to protect student rights on campus!
- "The FIRE: ‘The Government Has Mandated Speech Codes on All Campuses‘," Legal Insurrection, May 10, 2013
- "Why FIRE is Hot Under the Collar," Cato At Liberty, May 10, 2013
- "I Ask Anurima Bhargave for a Date," The American Spectator, May 10, 2013
- "U.S. Rule Makes Every Student a Sex Harasser," JoanneJacobs.com, May 11, 2013
- "Higher Education Update: The FIRE: The Government Has Mandated Speech Codes on All Campuses," Instapundit, May 11, 2013
- "Dating Imperiled by Government Speech Mandate," First Amendment Coalition, May 13, 2013
- "Watchdog Group: Feds Force All U.S. Universities to Adopt Unconstitutional Speech Codes," Campus Reform, May 13, 2013
- "Obama Administration Orders Colleges to Implement Unconstitutional Speech Codes," Acton Institute Power Blog, May 13, 2013
- "Another Washington-Inspired Assault on Free Speech," Minding The Campus, May 13, 2013
- "Tolerate ‘Any’ Unwelcome Campus Sex Talk, Lose Federal Funds," Cato At Liberty, May 13, 2013
- "The Ignored DOJ Scandal–Anti-Free Speech Codes on Campus," Legal Insurrection, May 14, 2013
- "Feds May Force U.S. Universities to Adopt Extreme Anti Sexual-Harassment Speech Codes," BlissTree, May 14, 2013
- "Government Opens The Floodgates for College Sexual Harassment Suits," The American Spectator, May 14, 2013