Torch readers might be wondering when we are going to post December’s Speech Code of the Month. The answer is tomorrow, and the reason it wasn’t posted today is good news for free speech. FIRE was poised to name Metropolitan State University in Minnesota as our December 2007 Speech Code of the Month for its University Community Conduct Code, which prohibited “manifestations of prejudice regarding race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation” and imposed “sensitivity training” as a sanction for violating that prohibition. FIRE wrote to Metropolitan State back in July to express our concerns about the policy, and received a brief reply from the university in August simply noting that our concerns had been taken under advisement.
When we went to link to the policy today, however, we learned that the University Community Conduct Code “has been withdrawn for revision” and is not currently operative at the university. This is great news for free speech at Metropolitan State, and we hope very much that the revised policy will address the First Amendment concerns about free speech and freedom of conscience that we raised in our July letter. We’ll keep you posted, and look for a new Speech Code of the Month tomorrow.