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The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Silly

Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

As a free speech organization, we see pretty much every type of censorship out there. People are frequently censored at colleges and universities for engaging in controversial political speech. Other times, people are censored for engaging in speech that is crude and repugnant, but that is wholly protected. And then there are times that people seem to be censored for no reason at all. Today’s case at Marquette University is one of those instances. In the spirit of levity, here are a few more of the silliest instances of censorship we’ve seen here at FIRE:

  • Gonzaga University tried to punish students for engaging in “hate speech” for posting a flyer advertising a speech by the author of the book Why the Left Hates America. Gonzaga administrators reasoned that because the flyer contained the word “hate,” it constituted “hate speech.”
  • The University of New Hampshire charged a student with “harassment” and “disorderly conduct” for posting a flyer in his dorm elevators joking that women who want to lose the ‘Freshman 15’ should take the stairs instead of the elevator. The flyer was merely intended to make light of the student’s frustration with people who delay the elevator by taking it for just one or two floors instead of taking the stairs.
  • The University of Central Florida attempted to punish a student for calling a student government candidate a “jerk and a fool” on the popular college website
  • Indian River Community College banned a student group from showing The Passion of the Christ because it was rated R, while at the same time allowing the performance of a skit entitled “F*cking for Jesus.”

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