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FIRE Letter to the Editor in ‘The Daily Princetonian’

In response to boos from the audience during a portion of Princeton’s “Sex on a Saturday Night” play when two males kissed, Andy Brown, the play’s co-director, wrote an editorial in The Daily Princetonian condemning those who jeered. He wrote that: 

The LGBT Center notes [Princeton’s] definition [of sexual harassment] to the realm of sexual orientation on their website: “Harassment based on sexual orientation is unwanted verbal or physical conduct based on a person's perceived sexual orientation.” Booing the portrayed scene was harassment based on sexual orientation. This means that the booing was completely unacceptable by University standards. 

This policy and others have earned Princeton a red light on FIRE’s Spotlight. FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Samantha Harris, a Princeton alumna, wrote a letter to the editor that the Princetonian published Tuesday. She said: 

This accusation [of harassment], along with Princeton's overbroad definition of harassment, is ludicrous.…. Princeton claims to value free expression, but maintains many policies —including the harassment policy cited by Brown—that prohibit speech which would, outside of a private university, be protected by the First Amendment. Shouldn't Princeton students have the same rights as their counterparts down the road at Mercer County Community College?

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