Florida State University Drops Four Provisions Limiting Free Speech On Campus

Florida_State_University_seal.svgI often post critical or cautionary columns about the erosion of free speech on our college campuses.  It is a pleasure to be able to raise a positive development.  One such story is out of Florida State University which has removed five policies that “clearly and substantially” undermine free speech. The University of Florida has also moved to rescind such anti-free speech measures.

Florida State University has joined the University of Florida and University of North Florida in earning an education civil liberties group’s top rating for speech-friendly policies.

According to The College Fix the change involved four policies including a sex discrimination policy banning “derogatory or offensive language” and another anti-discrimination policy proscribing “offensive, demeaning, or degrading” behavior.

Those are common terms that I have repeatedly criticized in past columns. (here and here and here and here)  Terms like “derogatory or offensive” beg for arbitrary and subjective applications.  Notably, these rules often turn on how language is received rather than how it is intended.  It also allowed the most sensitive individuals to drive the scope of speech limitations on a given campus.

This is a welcomed move by FSU (my wife’s alma mater).  It places the university well ahead of one of its historic rivals, University of Miami, which earned a “red light” on free speech from FIRE, which monitors such limitations on free speech.

 

29 thoughts on “Florida State University Drops Four Provisions Limiting Free Speech On Campus”

    1. Like “racist” the term “neo-nazi” is overused to the point of being meaningless. Leftists refer to anyone who opposes mass immigration, multiculturalism, homosexual marriage, drag queen story hour, egalitarianism, etc. as a “nazi” I oppose all of the above and have no connection to any form of National Socialism.

  1. Looks like at least a temporary setback for our ever so tolerant leftists. I asked a leftist once how they claim to be tolerant but favor speech restrictions and hate speech laws. The answer was something like, “Yes, I support free speech but “hate speech” isn’t free speech, I am not tolerant of “intolerance”. Of course, this means they basically want to ban anything with which they disagree. And don’t worry sweet, tolerant leftists, you will have your “hate” speech laws in another 30 years or so. You will also (if white) be a hated minority.

    antonio

  2. Well the response, or lack thereof, clearly reflects what this blog is about. Our host will spend an enormous amount of blog space on first amendment stories. He writes one positive story and it can’t get 20 posts in a half a day. He posts one negative story and it’s like tossing a live chicken into a tank of piranhas.

  3. Freedom of speech on public not private property.

    All actual Americans can read the fundamental law which bears without the noble services of “interpreters,” no matter their interminable presumption to power. Looks like Americans enjoy the freedom of speech, with the sole exception of when that speech occurs on private property, which is possessed and disposed of, or has dominion over claimed and exercised, by its owners without any interference by government.

    1st Amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  4. One of the first casualties of limitations on free speech is critical thinking. Without free speech, people soon accept propaganda as truth because as Goebbels demonstrated if a lie is unchallenged and repeated often enough it becomes the truth. We should never forget that without free speech, many ordinary Germans — decent people– ultimately agreed it was time to gas the Jews.

    I believe that one of the reasons President Trump is hated so much by the left is he gives Americans the tools think critically about the propaganda spewed daily by the “journalists” and democrats. Yesterday afternoon and this morning the media’s and democrats’ heads are exploding because President Trump used their own words to prove that their charges that he acted too slowly to confront the Covid-19 virus are false. At the daily briefing, Americans were given the chance to hear democrats and the media back in January and February condemn President Trump for acting too swiftly by closing the border to China on January 31. Remember the words they used? Horrible words like racist and xenophobic flowed freely from their mouths until even they no longer could say them with a straight face. But then, without batting an eyelash, they pivoted and attacked the President for moving too slowly. President Trump’s exercise of free speech at the daily briefings– something that CNN, MSNBC and others are trying to silence– is encouraging Americans who listen to think critically about the allegations made so freely by democrats and the media in this time of national crisis and to see them for what they are.

  5. Freedom of thought. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of association.

    Freedoms just another word. Especially on campus. The Klan had tents on campuses.

  6. Never heard of FIRE but apparently they also favor not charging organizations for security costs due to disruptive of controversial speakers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_for_Individual_Rights_in_Education

    UF famously agreed to host Richard Spencer under the poor legal advice that they had to (Ohio State refused him and he went away) and the event closed the campus for a day and resulted in an immense police presence and shots being fired by right wingers from as far away as Idaho. Great call!

    When the county government gave UF the bill for it’s cops, ambulances, etc – about $300,000 – UF first wrote the check, then put a stop on it and paid only $100,000.

    Can the county send the rest of the bill to FIRE?

    1. Strange as it may seem to you, law enforcement is not a metered service, much less a service metered only for your political opponents. If you want lower bills, tell your allies to quit manufacturing security problems.

    2. “…Spencer framed the event, his first campus appearance since Charlottesville, as the free speech moment of the students’ lifetime, something that would shake the establishment and its indelible grasp on academe. He predicted a wave of at least 1,000 “antifascists,” what he called the liberal counterpart to the alt-right, who would cause campus mayhem.

      But largely, because of the university’s careful planning, such a scenario was avoided, aside from a few scuffles. Two arrests were made for more minor incidents, one because a man hired by a media outlet as security brought a gun onto campus; the second was a man who resisted police orders. Three other men were arrested after Spencer had already left the campus — they pulled up in a Jeep to a group of protesters near a bus stop and heckled them with Nazi slogans. One then fired a gunshot into the small crowd, and the Jeep sped off. All three were charged with attempted murder….”

      https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/23/nine-lessons-learned-after-richard-spencers-talk-university-florida

      “The University of Florida has settled its squabble with Alachua County over payment for the Richard Spencer event hosted on campus last year.

      UF recently sent the county a check for $67,461.11 for costs officials felt were due for the event.

      The county previously billed UF $302,000 for event, which UF said it accidentally paid via wire transfer before requesting the money be sent back.

      County spokesman Mark Sexton said county officials had little say in the amount, though the money was accepted.

      “It wasn’t a negotiation,” he said.

      On Oct. 19, white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke on the campus. The controversial event attracted thousands of protesters and throngs of media. Spencer was ultimately drowned out by the audience with chants like “Go Home, Spencer,” and “Let’s go, Gators.” Spencer responded by calling audience members “babies” and “pathetic” and ended the event early.

      The Sun has totaled the event’s cost at about $793,000. Spencer and his organization paid $10,500. UF officials rejected numerous requests to release the amount the university spent on the event, saying they weren’t legally obligated to because Gov. Rick Scott had declared a “state of emergency” over worries that the event would spark violence.

      Gainesville City Commissioners found that the city spent about $224,000 on the event. Commissioners, however, decided against asking UF to reimburse the city for its tab. The Florida Highway Patrol also spent $266,000 on the event, according to city data.

      Most of the $302,000 the county says it had to pay went toward the sheriff’s office for security during the event, which UF asked for. Sexton said the county doesn’t plan to ask UF to pay the remaining $234,500, unless commissioners change their minds….”

      https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/23/nine-lessons-learned-after-richard-spencers-talk-university-florida

      Maybe FIRE will step up and write the check. You know, for free speech.

    3. I would respect you more if you just admitted you do not subscribe to the current understanding of the 1st Amendment and favor some type of speech restrictions. Of course, this is probably a bridge too far right now. It is going to take a couple of more election cycles.

    4. actually most of those arrested at spencer’s MSU appearance were antifa not “rightwingers”

      the bill for security is the price public universities must pay having an open podium

      if they cant afford it then they can just shut down all speaker events 100% and that would be fair
      they can’t pick choose and selectively impose security bills on those they dont like
      this is basic first amendment law and it applies to the free speech rights of “rightwingers” too

      1. It is called the “hecklers veto” and a widely used tool courtesy of the brave warriors of the antifa to “shut it down”.

        Wonder why they don’t march in places where they are required to unmask or places where they are not tolerated/supported by local authorities.

      2. “actually most of those arrested at spencer’s MSU appearance were antifa not “rightwingers””

        I mentioned a bunch of these things in the past but just in case there is doubt about Richard Spencer.

        “To be fair, it is easy for people to think Richard Spencer is on the right, since he did coin the term Alt-right and is a leader of the Alt-right.

        But the Alt-right has very little to do with the American right and conservatism when it comes to ideology. The Alt-right ideology shares common ground with left- wing ideology, and Spencer is a prime example of that. Here are four reasons why Richard Spencer is a racist leftist:

        1. He badmouths capitalism regularly and promotes Bernie Sanders-style healthcare.

        Spencer spouts common leftist mantras, such as: capitalism is evil and exploitative, and big corporations are out to get the little guy. While Spencer does not explicitly acknowledge it, he is a socialist at heart, even advocating that the Right should adopt most of Bernie Sanders’ platform on universal healthcare and other economic issues.

        2. He believes individualism and freedom are stupid ideas.

        The American right’s ideology is predicated on the freedom of the individual to grow and thrive on his/her own without government intervention. The left, lacking faith in individualism, tends to think people need their hands held by the state and their freedoms restricted. Spencer stated at a recent speaking event at Auburn University that individualism and freedom were stupid concepts. He offers little rationale for his views, which could stem from his belief in racial collectivism.

        3. He praises big government programs on a variety of issues.

        Along with his advocacy of universal healthcare, Spencer offers big government programs to reinvent public transportation, solve climate issues, and forgive student debt. Even if any of these programs helped anything, which is doubtful, where would the money come from? Presumably higher taxes and higher deficits.

        4. It’s a tactic of the left to play identity politics.

        The right accepts and celebrates the idea that American and western culture is the greatest culture in the world. We are happy to encourage well-meaning and legal foreigners to assimilate into our culture in order for them to enjoy the benefits of pursing the American ideal. Richard Spencer, on the other hand, rejects the possibility that people either want to or should integrate with other cultures, as cultures tend to oppress each other. So in response to the left’s hard playing of minority racial grievances, Spencer uses the exact same logic to promote white racial grievances.

        https://www.dailywire.com/news/4-reasons-why-richard-spencer-racist-leftist-zack-miley

      3. Yes they can Kurtz. Ohio State told Spencer to GFH and he did. If he wants to grab a soap box and talk in front of the Home Depot, or courthouse, that’s his right. It’s not his right to organize a event attracting a..holes from across the country spoiling for a fight. At UF those included right wingers from Idaho now in jail for attempted murder who shot at unarmed people at a bus stop.

        1. Richard Spencer is a racist leftie.

          I’ll repeat what you missed the last time.

          1. He badmouths capitalism regularly and promotes Bernie Sanders-style healthcare.

          Spencer spouts common leftist mantras, such as: capitalism is evil and exploitative, and big corporations are out to get the little guy. While Spencer does not explicitly acknowledge it, he is a socialist at heart, even advocating that the Right should adopt most of Bernie Sanders’ platform on universal healthcare and other economic issues.

          2. He believes individualism and freedom are stupid ideas.

          The American right’s ideology is predicated on the freedom of the individual to grow and thrive on his/her own without government intervention. The left, lacking faith in individualism, tends to think people need their hands held by the state and their freedoms restricted. Spencer stated at a recent speaking event at Auburn University that individualism and freedom were stupid concepts. He offers little rationale for his views, which could stem from his belief in racial collectivism.

          3. He praises big government programs on a variety of issues.

          Along with his advocacy of universal healthcare, Spencer offers big government programs to reinvent public transportation, solve climate issues, and forgive student debt. Even if any of these programs helped anything, which is doubtful, where would the money come from? Presumably higher taxes and higher deficits.

          4. It’s a tactic of the left to play identity politics.

          The right accepts and celebrates the idea that American and western culture is the greatest culture in the world. We are happy to encourage well-meaning and legal foreigners to assimilate into our culture in order for them to enjoy the benefits of pursing the American ideal. Richard Spencer, on the other hand, rejects the possibility that people either want to or should integrate with other cultures, as cultures tend to oppress each other. So in response to the left’s hard playing of minority racial grievances, Spencer uses the exact same logic to promote white racial grievances.

  7. About time. I’m guessing the now firmly Republican Florida’s state government “encouraged” the move. Gators die hard. Especially the two-legged whacko radical variety.

  8. Since they don’t have to deal with students on a daily basis, maybe they are finely seeing the writing on the wall.

    1. Paul – I told George that we are roomies now, and that I live in your den. 😉. Thought I’d let you in on it, just in case he inquires.

      1. WW33 – you might want to give my wife a heads up. She is going to be asking questions I may not be able to answer. 😉

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