Category: Free Speech

Not in Front of the Shih Tzu: Professors Call for Hate Speech Protections to be Extended to Animals (Updated)

Two professors at the University of Sheffield have published a piece in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies to extend hate speech protections to animals to deal with hateful “speciesist” remarks. Drs. Josh Milburn and Alasdair Cochrane insist that such protections will help achieve a “more benign human–animal relations within society.”  The need for speech criminalization is based on the view that “some animals do seem to have their social confidence eroded because of their awareness of the risk of violence.”

 

Continue reading “Not in Front of the Shih Tzu: Professors Call for Hate Speech Protections to be Extended to Animals (Updated)”

Northwestern Students Demand Removal Of Trustee Chair From Presidential Search Due To Trump Support

We have been discussing the rising intolerance for conservatives and Republicans on campuses around the country.  My alma mater, Northwestern University has been increasingly intolerant as a university due in large part to the failure of its president and the administration to protect free speech and diversity of viewpoints.  Now the student government has asked the university to remove the chairman of the board of trustees from a presidential search committee.  The disqualifying element for Board of Trustees Chair J. Landis Martin is that he supported former President Donald Trump as a donor.  Notably, the students emphasized that Northwestern is now so overwhelmingly liberal that even one conservative on the committee is offensive and threatening. Continue reading “Northwestern Students Demand Removal Of Trustee Chair From Presidential Search Due To Trump Support”

Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics

We have been discussing writerseditorscommentators, and academics who have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including book banning and blacklisting. That movement has now become retroactive. Authors are now being successfully pressured to remove lines from published books that are deemed objectionable by some readers. It appears that even speech that has published can be retroactively “corrected” under the threat of public accusation. Continue reading “Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics”

“A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy

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We recently discussed the case of Loudoun County teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross who was suspended for speaking against gender policies. In a major victory for the free speech rights of teachers, Twelfth Circuit Judge James E. Plowman ordered LCPS to restore Cross’ position as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School. In a letter, the court found a basis for a temporary injunction to allow Cross to return until Dec. 31 pending further orders of the court. Continue reading ““A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy”

“Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps

Last November, the Santa Barbara City College announced the selection of Joyce Coleman as the new vice president of the School of Extended Learning.  Now Coleman has been put on administrative leave due to a comment made about Japanese internment camps that was denounced as causing “great harm” to the Asian community. The action is particularly notable given Coleman’s own campaign against racism in education.  Coleman, who is African American, has been a prominent voice against racism in society and particularly in education.  She reportedly observed in March in a Zoom event that “There is no such thing as not being racist. Either you are anti-racist or racist.” As will come as no surprise to many on this blog, I believe that Coleman’s statement should be considered protected by free speech and academic freedom principles.  Continue reading ““Either You Are Anti-Racist or Racist”: California Professor Put On Administrative Leave After Commenting On The Japanese Internment Camps”

Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe

We recently discussed the racist and violent remarks of New York psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani, who was featured by Yale Medical School. Khilanani launched into a tirade against white people and delivered such remarks as how she often thought of “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.” After weeks of intense criticism, Yale has added a disclaimer to the video. Continue reading “Yale’s Belated Unease: University Issues “Disclaimer” Regarding Psychiatrist’s Racist and Violent Diatribe”

Spanish Politician Suspended On Twitter After Responding To Transgender Story With “A Man Cannot Get Pregnant”

The expanding censorship on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook continue to be a major issue in the United States. However, the same debate is occurring in Europe despite a long erosion of free speech values. In Spain, a far-right politician was locked out by Twitter after saying “a man cannot get pregnant” because they have “no uterus or eggs.” Francisco José Contreras, deputy to Spain’s Vox Party, made the response to an article about a transgender male who the birth of a baby girl.  The remark was deemed hate speech by Twitter.

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“Malicious Communications”: Scottish Feminist Criminally Charged For Tweets Opposing Gender Self-Identification

There is a free speech fight brewing in Scotland where a prominent feminist, Marion Millar, 50, has been charged with the crime of “malicious communication” due to tweets criticizing gender self-identification.  We have previously discussed how feminists are being accused of hate speech and discrimination in these debates.  Indeed, Millar is accused of being a “terf” (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist) by critics due to her opposition to allowing males to declare themselves to be females.  She could now face two years in jail. Continue reading ““Malicious Communications”: Scottish Feminist Criminally Charged For Tweets Opposing Gender Self-Identification”

“It’s Lying to a Child”: Virginia Teacher Suspended After Opposing Pronoun Policy

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We recently discussed a meeting of the Loudoun County school board in which a teacher launched into a diatribe against classic works like To Kill A Mockingbird as racist. Now another teacher is the focus of a national debate after he spoke to the school board. However, teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross has been suspended for speaking against gender policies. Continue reading ““It’s Lying to a Child”: Virginia Teacher Suspended After Opposing Pronoun Policy”

Duck Hunt? University of Oregon Announces Policy On Monitoring Student Social Media and Off-Campus Statements

We have been discussing the expanding monitoring and sanctioning of teachers for their political commentary on social media.  We have also discussed such actions taken against college, high school and grade school students. The Supreme Court is due to consider the issue in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.,  a case involving high school students punished for off-campus activities.  Now, the Board of Trustees at the University of Oregon have approved a vague policy that mandates the monitoring of the social media exchanges and other “conduct” of its students.  For the “Ducks” of Oregon, it could be difficult to judge what language could be deemed disruptive to anyone on campus under the rule.

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Rutgers Law Students Require All Student Groups To Hold Critical Race Theory Or Diversity Programs

We recently discussed the controversy at Rutgers Law School over the reading of the “n-word” from a state supreme court opinion.  Now there is a potentially serious conflict brewing over the right of the student government to demand that all student groups hold at least one event featuring critical race theory or diversity issues. The requirement (for any group receiving more than $250) presents some interesting questions in the conflict between free speech and diversity programs at such schools. Continue reading “Rutgers Law Students Require All Student Groups To Hold Critical Race Theory Or Diversity Programs”

Facebook: People Will Now Be Allowed To Discuss Whether Covid-19 Originated In Wuhan Lab

Read that headline a couple times. There was a time when such a headline would only appear on The Onion, but it is true. Facebook has long banned anyone who discussed the evidence that a worldwide pandemic killing millions and destroying the global economy may have been released from a government lab in Wuhan, China. Facebook would not allow the theory to be discussed as “debunked” despite widespread criticism that Facebook was, again, engaging in corporate censorship. The false claim that this theory was “debunked” was pushed by various media platforms as part of the criticism of then President Donald Trump and his Administration. Now however Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have acknowledged that there is a basis to suspect the lab as the origin of the outbreak. So now Facebook will allow you to talk about it. Continue reading “Facebook: People Will Now Be Allowed To Discuss Whether Covid-19 Originated In Wuhan Lab”

“Toxic Ideology”: English Neo-Nazi Given Four Years For His Extremist Views

We often discuss how defending free speech often means defending those who we find thoroughly  grotesque or offensive.  In that sense, Nicholas Brock, 52, is the ultimate personification of the price we pay for free speech. The neo-Nazi was given a four-year sentence for what the court called his “toxic ideology” based on the contents of the home he shared with his mother in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  In my view, the only thing more troubling than Brock’s hateful views is the decision to criminalize the holding of such views.  It is an example of the continued erosion of bright-line protections of free speech in the United Kingdom and other European countries. Judge Peter Lodder QC declared “I do not sentence you for your political views, but the extremity of those views informs the assessment of dangerousness.” That is a fine distinction that allows for sweeping criminalization of political viewpoints.

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Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Journalist Contesting Georgia’s Anti-BDS Law

We have been discussing the state laws requiring contractors and employees to swear that they do not support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel. I have long maintained that the law is unconstitutional as a limitation of free speech and associational rights. This week, a court in Georgia became the latest to declare such laws unconstitutional. The case was brought by journalist Abby Martin who was denied a contract as a keynote speaker at Georgia Southern University due to her support of the BDS movement.  The opposition to these laws is not driven by the merits of the BDS movement or its opposition. Rather, the issue is the curtailment of political speech, including compelling official speech or viewpoints, as a condition for state employment.

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“Neo-Nazi Murderer Lover”: Columbia Professor Under Fire After Attacking A Baruch Student On Social Media For Defending Trump

Columbia Professor Jeffrey Lax is under fire on conservative sites like the The College Fix for attacking Baruch College student Gabriel Montalvo for defending former President Donald Trump on Facebook. Lax appears entirely unhinged in the exchange and lashes out at Montalvo who at the time was a student at Queensborough Community College. To his credit, Montalvo did not call for Lax’s termination — as is often the case in college protests for those holding opposing views. However, he did call for Columbia to investigate Lax. I believe that such an investigation would also be an abuse despite viewing Lax’s postings as juvenile, hysterical, and unworthy of a professor. As will come as no surprise to many, I viewed the postings as exercises of free speech that should be protected by all academic institutions. Continue reading ““Neo-Nazi Murderer Lover”: Columbia Professor Under Fire After Attacking A Baruch Student On Social Media For Defending Trump”
Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks