University of Missouri – Columbia

Location: Columbia, Missouri
Website: http://www.missouri.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Missouri – Columbia has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

Red Light Policies

  • MU Equity: Resource Library- Sexual Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It consists of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

    When the harassment rises to the level that it interferes with employment or with education, then it becomes illegal and also violates the University’s policy. But even lesser levels of sexually harassing behaviors may be inconsistent with MU’s commitment to a safe and inclusive work and learning environment.

    Here are some examples of behaviors that may be sexually harassing:

    • Leering or ogling
    • Remarks of a sexual nature, such as comments about a person’s clothing, appearance, or sexual experience
    • Suggestive or insulting sounds
    • Off-color jokes or obscene gestures
    • Unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body
    • Statements or other indications that sexual favors will be rewarded with grades, favorable employment reviews, or other shows of partiality
    • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances is a condition of employment, work status, promotion, or grades
    • Sex-based stalking, sexual assault, or other similar criminal behaviors

    » Read More

  • Tiger Guide: Emergencies, Health and Personal Safety- Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Harassment is unwelcome contact with an individual through electronic, verbal or written means that threatens, intimidates, demeans and/or creates a hostile environment.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • M-Book: Standard of Conduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Bullying is defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class.

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  • M-Book: Hosting Events on Campus 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    The application for use of a facility must be submitted 48 hours in advance by the President or Vice President of a recognized student organization.

    Speakers Circle has been designated as an area where permits are not required.

    » Read More

  • MU Equity Office: Report a Bias Incident 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    If you have witnessed or experienced a bias incident that has occurred within the MU community, please use the form below to report the incident anonymously or with your name. A bias incident is an act of intolerance which is committed against any person, group or property and which discriminates, stereotypes, harasses or excludes anyone based on [their identity]. Any act of intolerance, such as graffiti, name-calling, threats, hate crimes or extreme examples of bias incidents – regardless of severity – can be reported using this form.

    » Read More

  • Tiger Guide: Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Harassment by engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose that would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed is not tolerated and will result in severe conduct action, including potential removal from the residence hall. Forms of harassment include, but are not limited to, cyber, sexual or verbal harassment, threatening messages, physical threats, intimidation or posting of harassing materials.

    Rationale: The University of Missouri does not condone discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, gender expression, gentics information, disability or status as a protected veteran. Residential Life is committed to providing a comfortable, non-threatening environment for all; to tolerate harassment would be contrary to that commitment. Personal and academic enrichment must take place in an environment that respects the rights of others, even when individuals may have different views or beliefs. Actions that may not be intended to threaten or degrade may nevertheless do so to another individual. Residential Life staff also come from diverse backgrounds and have the right to perform their jobs to help residents succeed in a safe, non-threatening environment.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • M-Book: Sexual Harassment Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined for this policy as … Other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a University employee or a member of the student body to a University employee or a member of the student body, when:

    1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used explicitly or implicitly as a condition for academic or employment decisions; or
    2. The purpose or effect of such conduct is to interfere unreasonably with the work or academic performance of the person being harassed; or
    3. The purpose or effect of such conduct to a reasonable person is to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

    » Read More

  • M-Book: Standard of Conduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 6, 2015

    Conduct for which students are subject to sanctions falls into the following categories: …

    Harassment in violation of the University’s anti-discrimination policies, is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct, on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class as defined in the University’s anti-discrimination policies, that creates a hostile environment by being sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

    Threatening or Intimidating Behaviors, defined as written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property or implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.

    » Read More

  • M-Book: Rights and Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 2, 2015

    The University’s goals are to provide an atmosphere conducive to the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are essential to attain these goals.

    » Read More


  • Group Plans National Free Speech Event to Protest Campus Censorship

    January 25, 2016

    By Peter Fricke at Campus Reform Two brothers from New Hampshire are hoping to channel simmering student frustration into a national protest movement rejecting the censorship of speech on college campuses. Read more here.

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  • The Phony Debate About Political Correctness

    January 14, 2016

    By Erica Hellerstein and Judd Legum at Think Progress In 1991, New York Magazine published an influential cover story, titled “Are You Politically Correct?” The headline was splashed across the glossy’s front page in bold red and white letters, followed by a list of supposed “politically correct” questions: … Read more here.

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  • Campus Free Speech Has Been in Trouble for a Long Time

    January 4, 2016

    By Greg Lukianoff at Cato Institute 2015 will be remembered as a year in which campus free speech issues took center stage, receiving extensive coverage in outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate,Vox, and Salon. Even President Obama voiced concerns about the lack of debate on college campuses. … Read more here.

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  • Mizzou Administrator: First Amendment Isn’t a ‘Free Pass to Go Round Saying Hateful Things’

    January 4, 2016

    By Kaitlyn Schallhorn at The Blaze Amid the racial tensions on the University of Missouri’s campus that culminated last semester, a school administrator is promoting “inclusive terminology” and stating that the First Amendment does not give people the right to say whatever they wish. In an interview with the Economist published over the weekend, Mizzou Interim Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Chuck Henson criticized defenders of the First Amendment for leading the backlash against the recent changes at the school — including the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, who is white. Henson also asserted that the First Amendment does […]

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  • How C. S. Lewis Predicted Today’s College Campus Craziness—in 1944

    December 31, 2015

    By Sheryl Young at Ratio Christi When events at Yale University and the University of Missouri propelled college politics to national news, many conservatives were caught off guard by the power of “political correctness.” To those familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis, however, these events were of little surprise. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man explains both the confusion and the radical ideology on campuses today, and how Americans should respond to these dire threats. What’s Happening on College Campuses? In the September issue of The Atlantic, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation […]

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  • Republicans Introduce Bill to Eliminate Speech Codes at NH Colleges

    December 29, 2015

    By Anthony Hennen at Red Alert Politics The largest newspaper in New Hampshire has endorsed the elimination of campus speech codes. The New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday supported no speech codes for the University System of New Hampshire if “the university system expects its students to learn anything.” Recent campus controversies and protests from Yale to Missouri to Oberlin College have pushed free speech concerns and the role of a university education to the forefront of debate. Students, concerned that university administrations have not done enough to address racism and other issues, have protested and called for limitations on […]

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  • Silencing Students: The 8 Most Loathsome Campus Censors of 2015

    December 29, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com Every year brings new examples of ruthless college administrators trampling the free expression rights of students and faculty, and 2015 was no different. Here are eight of the most notable campus censors I wrote about this year. Honorable Mention: Eric Posner Eric Posner, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, hasn’t actually censored anyone, so he doesn’t make the list. But he certainly provides a great deal of intellectual ammunition for people working to restrict free expression rights—including and especially university administrators, as well as the police. Whether he is arguing that 18-year-olds […]

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  • Pictures From an Institution

    December 28, 2015

    By Roger Kimball at Quadrant Online Who says the guild system is dead? In New York, these days, you seem to need a licence for everything. The prominent Catholic journalist Ross Douthat discovered this mournful truth recently when he practised theology without a licence in his column for the New York Times. The offending column, “The Plot to Change Catholicism”, was published on October 18 and sparked an immediate rebuke from the Fraternal Order of Snot-Nosed Leftish Academic Theologians, Ltd. (I may not have the name exactly right.) Here’s what the brotherhood had to say (as an aid to the […]

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  • Spinning Mizzou

    December 23, 2015

    By CCAP at Forbes The student protests of fall 2015 raged from coast to coast, nowhere more memorably than at the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia. There student demonstrations began in protest of the Obamacare-mandated withdrawal of university-provided health insurance for graduate student employees. From these beginnings, things escalated quickly and took on a racial cast as some African-American students complained of alleged incidents of racial animosity. As the scene grew more and more reminiscent of a Tom Wolfe novel, the world watched as the graduate student son of a millionaire railroad executive went on a hunger strike, […]

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  • A Silver Lining for Free Speech

    December 21, 2015

    By Jenna A. Robinson at National Review This year has brought some dismal news for supporters of free speech. The William F. Buckley Free Speech Survey revealed that today’s college students have little appreciation for freedom of action and conscience. Sixty-three percent of students are in favor of “trigger warnings.” By a 52-42% margin, students say their college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech. And a shocking 72% of students surveyed said they support disciplinary action for “any student or faculty member on campus who uses language that […]

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  • Why Students Don’t Want Free Speech on Campus Anymore

    December 16, 2015

    By Heather Sells at CBN News CHICAGO — More and more, today’s college students want professors and administrators to make them feel safe and will protest if they don’t. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit educational foundation that tracks speech on college campuses. The foundation recently captured cell phone video of a Yale University student publicly cussing at and denouncing Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor and master of Silliman College, a residence hall, at Yale. “You should step down,” the student screamed at Cristakis. “It is not about creating an intellectual space. It is […]

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  • University of Wisconsin Regents Says no to Demand for Safe Spaces

    December 15, 2015

    By Peter Fricke at Campus Reform The University of Wisconsin system’s Board of Regents passed a resolution Friday defending the principles of free expression in reaction to student demands for “safe spaces.” The Associated Press reports that the resolution passed easily by a vote of 16-2, and was inspired by the racial protests at the University of Missouri and elsewhere, which have occasionally involved efforts to silence dissenting voices. “These are not just pretty words we are going to put in a brass plaque,” Regent Jose Delgado told AP, referring to the board’s commitment to put its principles into practice. […]

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  • Speech Crimes on Campus

    December 9, 2015

    By Staff at The Wall Street Journal The student censors at Yale claimed a scalp—pardon the micro-aggression—this week when lecturer Erika Christakis resigned her teaching position on childhood education. She had been pilloried for asking in an email if students weren’t too sensitive if they are offended by politically incorrect Halloween costumes. Yale’s powers-that-be ducked and covered in response, but the news on campus isn’t all bad, according to a forthcoming report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire). The foundation’s annual survey of 440 colleges—comprising 336 four-year public and 104 private institutions—finds that the share of schools maintaining […]

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  • Looking for a College With Political Diversity? Here’s a Few Options and Ones to Avoid

    December 5, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Universities and colleges often make rapt headlines for political radicalism, but a diverse, well-rounded higher education may be more available than you think. Backlash against liberal institutions have essentially been on the rise since conservative giant William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale in 1951. The National Review founder and publisher lamented the worldview of his alma mater in the famous book declaring, “The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.” Heterodox Academy, whose mission is to “increase viewpoint […]

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  • How Parents can Avoid Spending Thousands on Colleges that Host Student Storm-Troopers

    December 1, 2015

    By Thomas Sowell at New York Post Storm trooper tactics by bands of college students making ideological demands across the country, and immediate pre-emptive surrender by college administrators — such as at the University of Missouri recently — bring back memories of the 1960s for those of us old enough to remember what it was like being there and seeing firsthand how painful events unfolded. At Harvard back in 1969, students seized control of the administration building and began releasing to the media information from confidential personnel files of professors. But when university president Nathan Pusey called in the police […]

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  • The Campus Threat to Free Speech

    November 30, 2015

    By Mary Reichard at World News Group Before a University of Missouri communications professor summoned “muscle” to help shut down a student reporter at a protest, a Yale University student shouted down a professor, saying, “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!” These are just two notable, recent reminders that restrictions on free speech at places of higher learning are becoming increasingly commonplace. At Vanderbilt University, professor Carol Swain has been ferociously targeted for her non-politically correct ideas. She’s professed her Christian faith and conservative ideas at the college for 26 years now. The attacks on her started […]

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  • The ‘Heckler’s Veto’ on America’s University and College Campuses

    November 30, 2015

    By Allan C. Brownfeld at Communities Digital News WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2015 – Free speech used to be highly valued, particularly on the nation’s college and university campuses. Academic freedom demanded a respect for a diversity of views. During the Vietnam War years, this writer taught at the University of Maryland. The campus was alive with debates about the war and a host of other subjects. There was no effort to silence diverse points of view. Earlier, at the College of William and Mary and its law school, the notion that certain ideas could not be expressed because someone might be […]

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  • Jim Dey: Is New Emphasis on Student ‘Safe’ Spaces Putting Them at Risk?

    November 29, 2015

    By Jim Dey at The News-Gazette  Back in February, Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis, disturbed about the campus environment concerning sexual harassment, emotional “triggers” and issues involving consent, wrote an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Headlined “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe,” Kipnis’ piece challenged campus orthodoxy on these sensitive subjects. Some critics challenged her assertions, but two students did more than that. They filed a complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation with the university against Kipnis under federal law’s Title IX guidelines. The complaint was laughable on its face. But Kipnis endured months of administrative runaround trying to find out, […]

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  • To Learn or Not to Learn

    November 27, 2015

    By Dave Trecker at Naples News Some thoughtful people are asking a thoughtful question, one perhaps long overdue: What is the real purpose of higher education? Is it to learn the basics of math, writing, literature, science, history? To learn to think and reason? To prepare for employment? Or is it to try to change the world — whether you can spell or not? Is it to force changes on universities terrified of offending liberal students who may or may not be able to write a coherent paragraph or balance their checkbooks? Or is it to do both, if you […]

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  • Social Justice Warriors are Waging an Increasingly Nasty Culture War and It’s Making America Mad

    November 27, 2015

    By Nick Whigham at News.com Australia THERE’S something in the water and it’s turning America mad. Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), groups of mostly young, mostly university students, are waging a bitter war with the cultural establishment of the nation and it’s turning increasingly nasty. Those who proudly adopt the title express a mix of sensitivity to social issues coupled with an aggressive and almost militant outrage at any perceived injustice. But their incendiary tactics have sparked a huge backlash from professors, journalists and commentators around the country as a culture war that has been bubbling under the surface for some […]

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  • Be Thankful for the Vigorous, Uncomfortable, Invaluable Clash of Ideas this Thanksgiving

    November 26, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a great column in The New York Times on Sunday explaining the practical benefits of thankfulness in action. In that spirit, here are a few people I’m thankful for in the zany college world: The brave students at Princeton who not only spoke up against the rise of “intimidation and abuse” against people with certain viewpoints, but practically guaranteed they will suffer intimidation and abuse by signing their names to it. Their letter to President Christopher Eisgruber: Academic discourse consists of reasoned arguments. […]

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  • Chicago School of Free Speech

    November 23, 2015

    By L. Gordon Crovitz at The Wall Street Journal “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” read the headline of an essay for the liberal website Vox earlier this year. The author, who was frightened enough to write under a pseudonym, admitted that he “cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad,” including books by Mark Twain. The American Association of University Professors last year warned: “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.” The liberals who run U.S. universities can’t be surprised by […]

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  • How Students are Fighting Free Speech Limits at Schools, Colleges

    November 21, 2015

    By Courtney Tompkins at The Daily Breeze When Simon Yung graduated from San Gabriel High School six months ago he could have walked away from the embattled school district, but his desire to give others a voice pushed him to do something different. Yung, 18, was part of a team of student journalists who tried to cover a story about the sudden dismissal of an inspirational teacher in May, but when students asked for comment from administration, they were shut down by their principal. The students fought back, challenging what they said was censorship and alleged the administrator had violated […]

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  • Podcast: The First Amendment Speech Debate on College Campuses

    November 20, 2015

    By Staff at National Constitution Center Are there limits to what can be said at and displayed on college campuses? This podcast discusses recent controversies at Yale University and the University of Missouri involving the First Amendment, the 14thAmendment, free speech and hate speech. At Yale, the controversy started after an e-mail from its Intercultural Affairs Committee encouraged students to show restraint in their Halloween costume selections. Two professors objected, saying universities “have become places of censure and prohibition.” That debate is on-going. And at Missouri, the controversy stared over the school’s response to several racial incidents and led to […]

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  • College Protests Lack Right Solutions

    November 19, 2015

    By Tallahassee Democrat at News-Press.com The mess at the University of Missouri recently is sending ripples of racial unrest through university campuses nationwide, with some significant long-term implications for American education and politics — as well as the news media. In a little more than 36 hours, thousands of students protesting what they consider the University of Missouri administration’s insensitivity to some ugly racist provocations forced university President Tim Wolfe to resign. The university chancellor also announced plans to quit soon, and Wolfe was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Middleton, a black man who was the deputy chancellor, as well […]

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  • Alabama’s Colleges, Universities Must Defend Free Speech

    November 18, 2015

    By J. Pepper Bryars at Alabama Media Group The uneducated comments coming from higher education these days are startling. Over at the University of Missouri, a student body representative recently said she’s “tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students” who engage in speech she deems hostile. Up at Amherst College in Massachusetts, students are demanding the school issue a statement saying it does “not tolerate the actions of students who posted … the ‘Free Speech’ posters.” And here in the South, students at Vanderbilt University are protesting a professor who once wrote that Islam was “dangerous” and that […]

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  • Student Activism, Race & Free Speech

    November 18, 2015

    By Aaron Henkin, Maureen Harvie and Connor Graham at WYPR.org The University of Missouri, Yale University, University of South Carolina, Occidental College, University of Kansas, Claremont McKenna College. The list goes on. College students across the country are leading protests and demonstrations to call attention to the issue of racial tolerance, diversity, and in some cases, the resignation of professors and high-ranking administrators. In this hour of Midday we’ll view this topic through national and local lenses, and hear the points of view of academic reporters, students, a college administrator and a free speech advocate. Our guests: Scott Jaschik,editor and one […]

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  • College Campuses Outlawing Dissent

    November 17, 2015

    By Staff at Tyler Morning Telegraph  The left is becoming ever more authoritarian – at least on certain topics. Free speech is no longer sacrosanct to many progressives, as colleges cave in to young protesters and opposing arguments are silenced, not countered. One of those young progressives has written in the U.K. Guardian that political correctness is, in fact, an expansion of free speech. “Framing free speech and political correctness as opposing forces is a false dichotomy intended to derail uncomfortable but necessary conversations, a smokescreen ginned up by the ethically lazy. The fact is, political correctness doesn’t hinder free […]

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  • Can Political Correctness And Free Speech Coexist On Campus?

    November 17, 2015

    By Sam Wright at Above the Law To the continuing annals of racism and its consequences in Missouri, let us add a new entry (previous entries include this and this). As college and university students across the country have been ramping up protests claiming that their schools have long abetted systemic racism, students in Missouri have wrought an especially ferocious firestorm. At the University of Missouri, student protests led to the University President’s resignation on November 9. In the aftermath of that resignation, the activists whose work led to the President’s resignation took over various public spaces and used force […]

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  • Getting the Story Wrong on Campus Racism

    November 17, 2015

    By Jon Gould at The Hill Online Let’s take a current events quiz and see if you can identify this scenario: a university D.J. tells racist jokes on air; racist jeers and graffiti start to appear across campus; African-American students take over an administration building to protest the racial climate on campus; and, weeks later, university administrators respond with a policy to punish racist speech. Sound familiar? You’re thinking this is currently happening at the University of Missouri or Yale University, right? Wrong. That’s the University of Michigan from the late 1980s. Of course, it also could have been the […]

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  • Public Shaming on Campus: Out of Control

    November 17, 2015

    By Natt Hentoff at WND.com Hostility to the exercise of free speech on American college campuses is nothing new. But what happened at Yale University, the University of Missouri and other colleges over the past two weeks is something new and frightening. The suppression of speech in academia has begun to spiral out of control. Nicholas Christakis is a professor at Yale who lives with his wife in a student residence hall on campus. An internationally renowned physician and sociologist, Dr. Christakis was surrounded by dozens of angry students who showered him with curses and threats. Dr. Christakis’ offense? He […]

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  • Missouri and the Causes of Campus Racial Unrest

    November 16, 2015

    By Abraham Miller at The Blaze The protests at the University of Missouri copy a racial incident have compelled the resignation of the two leading campus officers. For any campus administration to take responsibility for the excesses of some unknown racist or racists shows how hypersensitive racial issues are on campus. Indeed, there is something ironic if not absurd about the entire affair. Can you imagine the head of Macy’s, for example, resigning because someone walked into a bathroom and smeared an offensive racist symbol on a mirror? From the zealous use of affirmative action in student recruitment, to the tortured concerns […]

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  • Regulation Specialists: School ‘Protected Areas’ Unsafe for Free Speech

    November 15, 2015

    By Staff at The Standard Times College “safe spaces,” where students can hide away from viewpoints that might cause them distress, go against the nation’s First Amendment and even what universities should stand for, according to Constitutional law experts. “They want complete control over their personal lives, over their sex lives, over the use of drugs, but they want mommy and daddy dean to please give them a safe place, to protect them from ideas that maybe are insensitive, maybe will make them think,” attorney Alan Dershowitz told . But instead, the last thing students who demand safe zones want […]

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  • Missouri Controversy Highlights Academia’s Free Speech struggle

    November 15, 2015

    By Aamer Madhani and Roger Yu at USA Today As college administrators across the country move to crack down on hate speech on campus, First Amendment advocates say that universities are becoming increasingly squeamish about exposing students to ideas that they may find offensive or collide with their world view In a nationwide poll published by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale University last month, 50% of students said they often felt intimidated to offer views that differ from their classmates’ or professors’. Sixty-three percent of students said that they thought political correctness was a problem on campus, while […]

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  • Amid Student Protests, Some See Erosion of Free Speech

    November 15, 2015

    By Lisa Leff at Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A recent groundswell of protests on college campuses over race, sexual misconduct and other social issues has some civil libertarians worried that the prized principle of free speech could be sacrificed in the rush to address legitimate student grievances. The potential conflict between the protection of civil rights and the constitution’s First Amendment guarantees was on display at the University of Missouri in Columbia last week when students, supported by the football team, forced the resignation of system president Tim Wolfe over racial incidents and other problems on campus that […]

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  • The Censors Must Not Win: Campus Thought Police Have Run Amok — but All Is Not Lost

    November 15, 2015

    By Greg Lukianoff and Robert Shibley at Daily News The year 2015 has seen the third rails of race and sex powered up on campus — and the live wire of “sensitivity” is electrocuting intellectual freedom. Worse, in contrast with the past, when censorship typically came from above, today’s censorship drives are increasingly led not by administrators, but by students. Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press. These campuses aren’t alone. At […]

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  • Could Jesus Crack Campus Speech Codes?

    November 15, 2015

    By Jan LaRue at American Thinker Absent a miracle, neither Moses nor Christ could crack the speech codes enforced by self-anointed censors operating at the majority of American colleges and universities today. In “The Coddling of the American Mind,” Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, writing for the September 2015 issue of the Atlantic, document the demise of First Amendment rights on college campuses and why it’s “disastrous for education and mental health”: “Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects […]

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  • Our opinion: Free speech 101: Don’t stifle it

    November 15, 2015

    By Staff at Tallahassee Democrat The mess at Mizzou is sending ripples of racial unrest through university campuses nationwide, with some significant long-term implications for American education and politics — as well as the news media. In a little more than 36 hours early last week, thousands of students protesting what they consider the University of Missouri administration’s insensitivity to some ugly racist provocations forced university President Tim Wolfe to resign. The university chancellor also announced plans to quit soon, and Wolfe was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Middleton, a black man who was the deputy chancellor, as […]

    » Read More
  • ‘Safe Spaces’ on College Campuses Run at Odds with First Amendment, Say Law Experts

    November 14, 2015

    By Staff at Fox News So-called “safe spaces” — where students can shield themselves from uncomfortable or dissenting viewpoints — might be all the rage on college campuses, but they would not have been too popular with the founding fathers, say Constitutional law experts. “I think the problem is they’re trying to use this word ‘safe’ – which conveys the image of a violent attack – and turning it into safe from ideas and statements we find offensive,” said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. “There is no right to be safe from that.” “That is directly contrary to what universities […]

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  • Law Experts: College ‘Safe Spaces’ Unsafe for Free Speech

    November 14, 2015

    By Sandy Fitzgerald at NewsMax College “safe spaces,” where students can hide away from viewpoints that might cause them distress, go against the nation’s First Amendment and even what universities should stand for, according to Constitutional law experts. “They want complete control over their personal lives, over their sex lives, over the use of drugs, but they want mommy and daddy dean to please give them a safe place, to protect them from ideas that maybe are insensitive, maybe will make them think,” attorney Alan Dershowitz told Fox News. But instead, the last thing students who demand safe zones want […]

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  • Inside the Bizarre Right-Wing Political Correctness Movement That Threatens Free Speech

    November 14, 2015

    By Zaid Jilani at AlterNet  Raucous protests at the University of Missouri, Ithaca College and Yale have highlighted the tension between students who desire a tolerant campus and the American value of free speech. Most of the discussion about these events in the media portrays a struggle between left-wing students and administrators trying to implement diversity and speech codes versus right-wing students and administrators trying to protect certain kinds of speech. But political correctness is far from just a left-wing phenomenon, and there are many instances of right-wingers trying to silence speech on campus. Here are some of the ways […]

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  • College Students Want to Make Everything Free Except Their Minds

    November 13, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com At least it’s not just about offensive Halloween costumes, anymore: Students across the country engaged in protests Thursday and Friday as part of the Million Student March for debt forgiveness, free college, and a $15 minimum wage. I have serious reservations about these goals—a higher minimum wage would cripple the opportunities of young people, debt forgiveness would punish taxpayers for the crimes of the privileged, and free college just isn’t very usefulfor poor people. What’s more, students can’t articulate a way to pay for them, as evidenced by this painful exchange between an organizer and […]

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  • Purdue President Reaffirms Free Speech in Wake of Mizzou, Yale Controversies

    November 13, 2015

    By Emily Larsen at Campus Reform In a statement released Wednesday, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels reaffirmed free speech and drew contrast between Purdue’s speech policies and practices of those at Yale University and the University of Missouri. “Events this week at the University of Missouri and Yale University should remind us all of the importance of the absolute fidelity to our shared values,” Daniels wrote in the statement. President Daniels, who became Purdue’s president in January 2013 after serving his second term as the Governor of Indiana, cited past victories of Purdue student movements protecting free speech. The We […]

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  • Pressure Increases On Yik Yak To Do More About Harassment On The Anonymous App

    November 13, 2015

    By Tyler Kingkade at Huffington Post A lawyer working on behalf of civil rights and feminist organizations is ramping up pressure on Yik Yak to do more to combat racist, sexist and homophobic messages posted to the anonymous social media app. Attorney Debra Katz sent a letter Wednesday evening to venture capitalists James Goetz and Timothy Draper, who collectively invested $72 million in Yik Yak — $62 million of which came from Goetz’s Sequoia Capital — to request they meet with her law firm and feminist groups about harassment taking place on the app. It’s the latest push for the company to increase […]

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  • When Free Speech Becomes a Political Weapon

    November 13, 2015

    By Kate Manne and Jason Stanley at The Chronicle Review Students at the University of Missouri recently succeeded in pressuring the institution’s president and chancellor to step down. At other campuses across the country, we are witnessing a wave of similar protests. Frequently, however, the students protesting are being misrepresented and belittled in the news media as childish and coddled. More worryingly still, they are held to be attacking freedom of speech rather than exercising it to call for institutional reform — political action of the very kind this freedom aims at protecting. What explains this apparent paradox? In a word, […]

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  • Yale Students Spit on ‘Free Speech’ Advocates, Literally

    November 12, 2015

    By Kyle Becker at Independent Journal Oh, Yale: That august university of intrepid thought, perched aloft the shining hills of academe, which guides our eye with luminescent vision, enlightening all who countenance its idyllic grandeur. Just kidding. Yale is increasingly turning into a shelter for spoiled rich kids who wither at the prospect of deliberating on an unwelcome thought. Campus Reform brings our attention to a “free speech” rally at Yale that incited a protest among students who instead prefer a “safe space” free from undesirable thought. The publication reports: Students at Yale University are reacting with outrage to the suggestion that freedom of expression […]

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  • Students: Fight Racism, Not Free Speech

    November 12, 2015

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Beast The ouster of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe this week—perhaps the most pivotal victory for young activists in years—should finally lay to rest the false notion that offended students have no real power on campus. The only question now is whether they will use their power for good. Indeed, there are many inequities for them to tackle, even on the relative bastion of privilege that is the university campus: the cost of attaining a degree is spiraling out of reach for lower and middle-class students, too many resources are gobbled up by […]

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  • At Mizzou, Yale and beyond, Campus Protests Stir Fresh Questions About Free Speech

    November 12, 2015

    Transcript at PBS News Hour At the University of Missouri, protests and a president’s resignation have put a spotlight on heated debate taking place on campuses across the country over hateful speech and racial insensitivities. Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker join Gwen Ifill to discuss questions of free speech and its limitations. GWEN IFILL: Marches and demonstrations at Missouri and other universities define a season of unrest on many college campuses. And the response to those protests has stirred fresh questions about how much speech is too much. […]

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  • NC Professor Tells Students be Civil and Speak Freely – or Take a Hike

    November 11, 2015

    By Edmund DeMarche at Fox News Students of University of North Carolina-Wilmington Professor Mike Adams can check their outrage at Halloween costumes and “micro-aggressions” at the door, but if they want to have real debate on hot-button issues such as race, he’ll make time in his criminology class. The famously outspoken professor, who took his school to court and won after accusing officials of stalling his career because of his conservative beliefs, has watched as campus controversies have erupted at Yale and University of Missouri in recent days. At Yale, an administrator’s e-mail that asked students to exercise their First Amendment […]

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  • Breitbart News Daily: Populism Takes Over; Crisis in Colleges

    November 11, 2015

    By Staff at Breitbart  On the Thursday, November 12, Breitbart News Daily show on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 from 6AM to 9AM EST, host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon will interview a number of guests, including Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder on the University of Missouri uproar that forced President Tim Wolfe to resign. Parents Television Council President Tim Winter will discuss sexualized shows on regular cable that expose children to disturbing imagery, and why the FX Network needs to be kicked off the basic cable tier. Dan Gainor, Vice President of Business and Culture at the Media […]

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  • Can Colleges Protect Free Speech While also Curbing Voices of Hate?

    November 10, 2015

    By Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post College campuses across the country have plunged into an intense debate that pits free-speech advocates against those who want to rein in insults, slurs and other offensive expressions. Student uprisings at Yale, the University of Missouri and elsewhere show a passionate desire to confront racism and bigotry in all its forms, from the disgustingly overt — a fecal swastika smeared on a bathroom wall in Columbia, Mo. — to the subtle or even unintentional offenses known as “micro-aggressions.” But the drive to combat hurtful and hateful speech is colliding in […]

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  • Freedom of the Press is Under Attack from Universities and Students

    November 10, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix People begrudgingly appreciate the press the same way they do a colonoscopy – it can be painful but it reveals things that are worse than temporary discomfort. Events at the University of Missouri (MU) and Yale University in the past week have made clear that this taken-for-granted cleansing of the body politic is precarious on any campus whose protesters have successfully intimidated a cowardly administration. After they forced the resignations of MU’s president and Mizzou’s chancellor on trumped-up charges of ignoring scattered anecdotes of racism, student activists and a journalism professor turned their sights on the media. The New […]

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  • Race and the Free-Speech Diversion

    November 10, 2015

    By Jelani Cobb at The New Yorker Of the many concerns unearthed by the protests at two major universities this week, the velocity at which we now move from racial recrimination to self-righteous backlash is possibly the most revealing. The unrest that occurred at the University of Missouri and at Yale University, two outwardly dissimilar institutions, shared themes of racial obtuseness, arthritic institutional responses to it, and the feeling, among students of color, that they are tenants rather than stakeholders in their universities. That these issues have now been subsumed in a debate over political correctness and free speech on […]

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  • Like Missouri, Yale Students Upset by Racial Incidents and Remarks on Campus

    November 9, 2015

    By Doug G. Ware at United Press International  NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 9 (UPI) — As the president of the University of Missouri resigned in the face of growing racial tension Monday, some students at Yale continued leveling criticisms at the Ivy League institution over what they view as apathy by the college toward similar matters of race. Timothy M. Wolfe, the University of Missouri system’s president, stepped down Monday following several days of mounting pressure over multiple alleged incidents of racism on the Columbia campus. In New Haven, some students are complainingthe same type of thing is happening. The controversy […]

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  • Racial Tensions Escalate

    November 9, 2015

    By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed Racial tensions at the University of Missouri and Yale University have escalated dramatically in the last week. At the University of Missouri, a student at the flagship campus at Columbia is approaching a week on a hunger strike to demand the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, who has not done enough, minority students charge, to deal with racist incidents on campus. In a highly unusual move, the black players on the football team on Saturday announced that they would boycott games in the future unless Wolfe resigns. He has not done so, but […]

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  • Missouri Colleges Could Be Punished For Stifling Student Speech Under Legislation

    January 15, 2015

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix Missouri could become the second state in the nation to give college students broad rights to express themselves on campus without the maze of restrictions and permits typically required for demonstrations. The Campus Free Expression Act, introduced by Republican lawmakers in the state house and senate, deems outdoor areas of public universities “traditional public forums” that are protected by the First Amendment – in effect, eliminating “free speech zones.” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, signed into law the same protections for Virginia students last spring. That bill passed both houses of the […]

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  • Political Rewind: State Law Limiting Birth Control Sparks Lawsuit Trying to Stop It

    September 16, 2012

    Editor’s Note: This article was created by aggregating news articles from Missouri Watchdog. State law limiting birth control sparks lawsuit trying to stop it The Missouri General Assembly’s decision to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s contraception bill veto Wednesday has sparked a lawsuit to prevent the legislation from becoming law. The Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Courtlate Wednesday seeking an injunction against the measure, which allows state employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception on religious grounds. “We consider this move to be just another right—wing assault on workers limiting our members’ options and choices,” […]

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  • University Training Programs Can Misinform, Fail to Protect

    December 30, 2015

    2015 has been a landmark year for student activism, including for those demanding more attention be paid to the issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. Although this activism has helped shine light on an important issue, many of the responses by universities have undermined students’ rights in critical ways. While FIRE has written extensively this year about the lack of due process in campus disciplinary proceedings, there is another aspect of universities’ responses that we want to call attention to: mandatory “orientations” and “training programs” that freshmen are often required to take in order to register for […]

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  • Students, Admins Cite ‘Safe Spaces’ in Seeking Limits to Media Coverage

    November 23, 2015

    One of many noteworthy aspects of the recent protests over racial inequality on dozens of America’s college campuses has been the effort by some protesters to bar members of the press in the name of creating a “safe space” to air their grievances. Many students have voiced concerns that the media would mischaracterize the story or, conversely, that the mere presence of journalists in a public forum would make students uncomfortable voicing their opinions. On November 9, University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click made headlines when she asked for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from a campus protest […]

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  • Mizzou Makes Big Promises, Then Waffles on Free Speech; Says Its ‘Red Light’ Speech Codes Comply with First Amendment

    November 16, 2015

    The University of Missouri released a statement last week detailing its plan to balance students’ safety concerns with their right to free expression. The statement comes at the end of a tumultuous few weeks in which protests over racism have roiled the campus. Last week, university system president Tim Wolfe resigned, as did R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia,. The associate director of the school’s Department of Student Life apologized for confronting a journalist covering a campus protest, and communications professor Melissa Click quit her “courtesy appointment” in the journalism school after being videotaped calling for […]

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  • President Obama: Student Protests Should Embrace Free Speech

    November 16, 2015

    WASHINGTON, November 16, 2015—For the second time this year, President Barack Obama publicly defended the importance of free speech on campus. In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos (video; transcript) that aired yesterday, President Obama praised student activists, but also said he disagrees with what Stephanopoulos described as “militant political correctness” on campus, whereby some activists seek to shut down opposing viewpoints. “Being a good citizen, being an activist, involves hearing the other side and making sure that you are engaging in a dialogue because that’s also how change happens,” said President Obama in the seven-minute interview. “The civil […]

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  • Academic Freedom Under Attack by Missouri Lawmaker

    November 13, 2015

    The Huffington Post reported this week that Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer recently demanded the University of Missouri (Mizzou) release all documents and correspondence related to a graduate student’s abortion-related research study. The senator’s request is, at its core, a thinly-veiled attempt to interfere with the research based on a negative view of its content and potential findings, and represents an affront to the student’s and the institution’s academic freedom. The study, conducted by a graduate student at Mizzou’s School of Social Work, examines the impacts of a state law-mandated 72-hour waiting period for women considering abortions. Data is being […]

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  • Missouri Universities Ask Students to Report ‘Hurtful’ Speech to Police

    November 12, 2015

    A troubling administrative response to recent student protests at the University of Missouri was issued on Tuesday, with the University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD) asking “individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech” to call the police immediately and photograph the individuals involved, allowing the university to “take disciplinary action” against offending students. Today, another university, Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), published an almost identical statement. FIRE wrote to Mizzou’s chancellor, vice chancellor for student affairs, and the MUPD yesterday to share our concerns about the MUPD’s statement and to remind Mizzou of its obligation to the First […]

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  • Mizzou Professor Demands ‘Muscle’ To Remove Student Journalists; Police Claim ‘Hurtful’ Speech Can Be Punished

    November 10, 2015

    The eyes of the nation are on the University of Missouri today. Ongoing student protests resulted in the resignations of the university system president and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus yesterday afternoon. Then, yesterday evening, video surfaced on social media of a professor’s demand that force be used against journalists trying to photograph student protesters against their will. Today, a “PSA” from the student protesters reaffirmed the media’s First Amendment right to cover the story, hopefully allaying future First Amendment concerns where the rights of student journalists are concerned. Mizzou #ConceredStudent1950 are talking again! pic.twitter.com/MXp3mcUfW1 — collier meyerson […]

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  • Mizzou Says Years-Old Confederate Flag Twitpic Not a ‘Threat,’ Retracts Statement

    July 15, 2015

    Officials at the University of Missouri said they will not take action against people photographed three years ago with a Confederate flag in a picture that recently appeared online, because they are not MU students. MU updated its statement on the issue this afternoon after FIRE reached out asking for comment. The photo, which was posted Sunday by Twitter user @fratscenery, appeared to show five young men, one of whom was holding a Confederate flag, standing near an MU fraternity house. On Monday, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin posted an official statement on the university’s website, in which he said […]

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  • This Time, We’re Failing to Talk About ‘American Sniper’

    April 20, 2015

    Every so often, a cultural touchstone descends on college campuses, with the effect of putting campus discourse under the microscope for all to see. The results, frequently, are discouraging. Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film American Sniper, adapted from deceased Navy sniper Chris Kyle’s memoir, is the latest exhibit. That American Sniper is a controversial movie is not a controversial observation. It was one of the most remarked-upon movies of last year, and the fevered debate over its portrayals of the war in Iraq, of the Iraqi people (and, by extension, Arabs and the Arab world), and of Kyle himself was difficult […]

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  • University of Missouri Will Tolerate Teletubby, ‘Will Not Tolerate’ Asking for Consent

    August 28, 2014

    This week, members of a fraternity at the University of Missouri (MU) found themselves in front of the university’s Title IX coordinator after one of them dressed up as a Teletubby and danced across the street from women rushing a sorority, as shown in a video posted online. Thankfully, the Title IX coordinator quickly and correctly determined that this did not constitute sexual harassment. But it is remarkable that this was even raised as an issue and that someone tasked with assessing actions as serious as sexual assault and rape had to spend time—even a short amount of time—investigating this.

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  • A Year Later, Impact of Feds’ ‘Blueprint’ Comes into Focus

    August 28, 2014

    Last summer, FIRE sounded the alarm about a shockingly broad definition of sexual harassment being pushed by the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” Announced at the conclusion of a year-long investigation into the University of Montana’s sexual assault policies and practices, the resolution agreement and findings letter the feds labeled a “blueprint” defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech). And this all-encompassing definition wasn’t just a general characterization of sexual harassment; rather, it was the exact policy language that ED and DOJ were requiring the University of Montana to adopt verbatim.

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