SDSU Speech Codes Highlighted in ‘The Daily Aztec’

October 28, 2011

In an insightful piece this week, San Diego State University (SDSU) student and The Daily Aztec managing editor Beth Elderkin investigates two of SDSU’s several “yellow light” speech codes. Elderkin interviewed our own Will Creeley, as well as UCLA law professor and constitutional law expert Eugene Volokh, who agree that the two policies in question are problematic:

According to FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, Will Creeley, the problem with the two harassment and abuse policies is certain words are too ambiguous. This is something UC Los Angeles constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh said could lead to a violation of students’ free speech rights based on personal interpretations.

“The policies are vague and overbroad, and therefore unconstitutional,” Volokh said.

Elderkin offers a thorough analysis of the two policies, which you can read here. The piece ends on a hopeful note for those who seek speech code reform at SDSU, with this quote from Director of Residential Education Christy Samarkos:

“We’re always reviewing, looking, rewriting, updating and making sure that we are being appropriate,” she said. “That’s something that’s really important to us, because we always want to make sure we’re serving our students to the best of our abilities at all times.”

A noble goal, and SDSU administrators should remember that FIRE is always ready and willing to help.

Schools:  San Diego State University