Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, December 26, 2013

College Speech Codes Are Ridiculous

Many colleges and universities have published speech codes to spell out rules to force students to use only politically correct language. These policies have gotten so ridiculous that a student at Modesto Junior College in California was barred from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution. The student, Robert van Tuinen, is an Army veteran who decided to distribute small copies of the U.S. Constitution to his fellow students. After doing this for ten minutes, a campus security guard told Robert that he needed approval from the Student Development Office to pass out anything. The guard sent him to speak with a college official, who then told Robert he would have to go to the so-called Free Speech Area. Modesto College’s Free Speech Area is a little circle of cement where only two people can stand, and it was already in use when Robert got there. Robert was then told he needed to reserve use of the area several days in advance and fill out an application in order to use it.

This whole incident is ridiculous. The entire United States is supposed to be a free speech area. Americans should not have to schedule their free speech ahead of time or get anybody’s approval for it. After a video of this incident circulated online, Modesto College said it was looking into policy.

This college and this incident are not unique. One-sixth of top colleges and universities in the U.S. have some sort of free speech zone, often with time and space limits, waiting periods and complex applications.

The good news is that many schools and colleges have lost court cases about speech codes, and others have voluntarily dropped their policies after public pressures and publicity. College students should speak up and fight back against restrictions on free speech.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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