Fight College Speech CodesSubmitted by augustash on Mon, 2010-11-15 14:57
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America.
Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip from their president, Greg Lukianoff, speaking with Reason.tv. "Lukianoff, a graduate from American University and Stanford Law School, has been with F.I.R.E. since 2001, helping the organization win several legal and public relations battles against censorial universities. Even so, he says, a full 77 percent of public colleges and universities maintain 'laughably unconstitutional codes.'"
If your college or university is suppressing free speech, you need to push back. Don't be intimidated.
First, you need to know your rights. FIRE provides guides to help you at Campus Freedom Network:
- FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus
- FIRE’s Guide to Religious Liberty on Campus
- FIRE’s Guide to Due Process and Fair Procedure on Campus
- FIRE’s Guide to Student Fees, Funding, and Legal Equality on Campus
- FIRE’s Guide to First-Year Orientation and Thought Reform on Campus
Once you know your rights and understand your school's speech codes, you will want to consider different ways to push for change. You can write opinion letters to the school's newspaper, distribute flyers, petition the administration, host discussion groups, host a protest, etc. Whatever you do, you need to get your story out. For more ideas, check out Campus Freedom Network's case studies. There you can see what tactics other students took to free speech on their campus.
Also, record as much as possible. In the world of new media, a video is often the most powerful way to communicate. Catching on video a school administrator or professor suppressing free speech, and then getting that video out to the public can bring about change quicker than you think. E-mail us if you catch something, and we'll likely put it up on the site to help get your message out.
Remember, know your rights first, be respectful, and always be true to your principles.