Free speech advocates are increasingly uneasy about the response of University of Missouri to protests of racism on campus. Some of the incidents described by students are exercises of free speech. Those concerns were heightened with the videotape of a communications professor harassing and trying to get students to “muscle” out a student journalist. This concern was heightened even further by police asking students to report “hateful and/or hurtful” speech. We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses and the message seemed to invite the type of speech regulation that has been on the rise. Citizens are allowed to say “hurtful” things without being forced to answer for their exercise of free speech. Monitoring and punishing hurtful statements threatens the most basic values of free speech in our universities. For those with controversial views, the police policy must have had the same feel as Mass communications professor Melissa Click calling for a show of “muscle” to target journalists. A complaint was filed by the student journalist against Professor Click who has now resigned her position.
The university’s student conduct code prohibits harassment, which it defines as “unwelcome verbal or physical conduct” against “actual or perceived membership in a protected class … that creates a hostile environment.” This includes conduct deemed to constitute bullying, retaliation and threatening or intimidating behaviors. The vagueness of these rules raise obvious unease for free speech advocates. As a result, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has written to the university to raise these concerns.
I have a nephew who just started at Missouri who appears to love the school. Ironically, he went there for the school’s stellar reputation for journalism studies. If the university wants to remain a serious academic institution, it will have to examine the implications of some of these moves for free speech values that are so essential to the academic mission.
The incidents described by students include people driving around with Confederate flags on their trucks or posting or saying intolerant or threatening things. Some of these acts may indeed cross the line into threatening conduct. However, some statements are also exercises of free speech. While distasteful and “hurtful,” they are part of an open and robust dialogue in this country that has been traditionally protected through cases like New York Times v. Sullivan. If we start to prohibit “hurtful” thoughts from being expressed, a wide array of speech would be chilled in society. We have always maintained that the solution to bad speech is good speech — not speech regulation or coercion.
What do you think?
124 thoughts on “University of Missouri Police Tell Students To Report “Hurtful” Statements”
I just feel so sorry for the youth of today. The world may disappoint you and you may have a lot of feelings hurt in your futures. Here is a link to a Dept of Defense form the Army uses to document such incidences. Please fill it out and then…and then…I don’t want to get censored on this blog again, so please call your mom and feel the hug through the phone and realize you are such a good person and the world owes you….cheers
University of Missouri Police Tell Students To Report “Hurtful” Statements
It reads as if some University of Missouri students need to attend remedial kindergarten nursery rhymes classes to brush up on this classic:
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me
1, November 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm
“I’m just providing one example of all kinds of hardships visited upon human beings in
every corner of this planet.”
Having to endure politically incorrect speech is hardly comparable with the systematic abuse suffered by military recruits, particularly when they have been conscripted.
That’s why I was implicitly questioning the relevance of your comment.
“…the systematic degradation and de-individuation of military conscripts…”
Ken Rogers, lest we forget, many of those “conscripts” became dead “conscripts.”
I’m just providing one example of all kinds of hardships visited upon human beings in
every corner of this planet.
How about the pitiful midgets, excuse me? I can only imagine their hardships.
Life’s a b—-, and then you die.
Can I offer some advice?
Count your blessings.
1, November 16, 2015 at 5:32 pm
“This conjures fond memories of boot camp wherein the Drill Instructors used “hurtful” statements and forced us reluctant, compulsory draftees to run around the company area reciting, ‘I am a flying —-bird, I have —- for brains.’
“I’ll never forget that kind and affectionate refrain.”
What connection are you positing between the systematic degradation and de-individuation of military conscripts and the exposure to uncomfortable ideas complained about by the advocates of collegiate political correctness?
This conjures fond memories of boot camp wherein the Drill Instructors used “hurtful” statements and forced us reluctant, compulsory draftees to run around the company area reciting, “I am a flying —-bird, I have —- for brains.”
I’ll never forget that kind and affectionate refrain.
Taxi Union Urges Racial Profiling Of Passengers
the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is telling drivers to racially profile their passengers. Union head Fernando Mateo said, “I don’t care about racial profiling. You know, sometimes it is good we are racially profiled, because the God’s honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics.” But it’s OK for him to say that because he’s Hispanic!
In fact, he basically justified it that way to AMNY, elaborating, “Clearly everyone knows I’m not racist. I’m Hispanic and my father is black. … My father is blacker than Al Sharpton.” He also told the Post, “I’m asking black and Hispanic people to profile their own, so how the hell can this be racist?”
FBI statistics verify the reality of who the real victims are of interracial crimes and Betty, It is not minorities that are the victims.
Betty the only danger to students on race would be black to white
How To Know If You’re A Fascist – Lessons From Yale & Mizzou
“Universities are not preparing these young minds for the cold, harsh reality of…..Halloween costumes. – Cultural Marxism at it’s finest”
“My 7:58p comment was sarcastic, but hardly insulting. Unless you’re a delicate flower. Your old man was obviously one tough man. Apparently it wasn’t passed on to you.”
Wow, Spinelli, you’re a real piece of work. Who’s the delicate flower?
Good quote by Mill.
Do you ever watch Jeopardy?
That’s my favorite show.
My 7:58p comment was sarcastic, but hardly insulting. Unless you’re a delicate flower. Your old man was obviously one tough man. Apparently it wasn’t passed on to you.
“If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bull—-.”
Nonsense – a function of affirmative action and welfare.
When the learning environment is unsafe for a group of students based solely on the color of their skin, they have to spend extra energy on being safe. Bullying sometimes begins verbally, and then escalates to the physical. The students were protesting because of the verbal bullying (I don’t know if it had yet escalated to the physical, but the fear of the physical bullying was real), “n….” signs written with feces seems to me to be bullying to everyone with dark skin. That’s not the only example, but it seems to have been the trigger for action. Then one of those protesting was hit by the car of the president of the university. The cops were called on the protesters and the protesters were treated with what is becoming the usual with cops – excessive force. This inspired the Black football players to join the protest then joined by their teammates and the coach. Now what’s going to get everyone’s attention more than a football team on strike? More of the student body joined the protest, most likely some joined because they learned why the protest was important; others because their team refused to play.
Those whose comments denigrate the protesters are also the ones who denigrate the result of the education level of the Black students. It’s hard to study when you don’t feel safe. The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. This is what the students did. They want systemic changes so that the bullying stops and they are safe to concentrate on their studies. Safety, like the white students get by the color of their skin…
I strongly recommend the book “Waking Up White”.
An historic world statesman:
Abraham Lincoln –
“If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” “…he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”
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