Today’s Wall Street Journal features FIRE President Greg Lukianoff as the lead op-ed. Greg details the disastrous and unconstitutional federal “blueprint” for speech codes set forth last week by the Departments of Justice and Education.
In the article, Greg points out that, under the new rules, the definition of harassment has been so dramatically lowered that now nearly everyone on campus is a “harasser”:
The implications for professors and students are enormous. An unsuccessful request for a date, or even assigning a potentially offensive book like “Lolita,” could now be construed as harassment. As attorney and civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer commented on The Atlantic’s website this week: “The stated goal of this policy is stemming discrimination, but the inevitable result will be advancing it, in the form of content-based prohibitions on speech.”
You can read the full op-ed here!
Sandy Hingston, Senior Editor at Philadelphia Magazine, recently wrote an article chronicling the past 20 years of political correctness on today’s college campuses. Hingston deftly examines the broader anti-free speech trends by sampling from a range of cases and prominently features Greg Lukianoff, Unlearning Liberty, and FIRE in her piece:
[Greg] posits that political correctness has hamstrung free speech, resulting in a society where citizens lack the “experience of uninhibited debate and casual provocation” that keeps minds open and dialogue flowing. People lose their jobs because of jokes and misinterpretations; they’re hung out to dry in public when they misspeak; they quake in fear of being accused of “disrespect.” Those who dare question whether these offended parties have actually suffered harm are shouted down by the hurt-feelings “sensitivity” industry and social media and news organizations trolling for hits. And the costs of disagreeing with the PC guardians ratchet ever upward—costs that all of us pay.
The article is thought-provoking, funny, and a great read. Check it out!
Recently, over at the Manhattan Institute’s higher ed policy center, Minding the Campus, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Senior Vice President Robert Shibley discuss “6 Ways to Defeat Campus Censors.” They suggest that possible solutions may include forcing all colleges accepting federal funding to enact policies promising free speech, targeting prime constituencies like alumni and high school students, or even launching an aggressive litigation campaign against those schools maintaining unconstitutional speech policies.
Head on over to Minding the Campus to read Lukianoff and Shibley’s thought-provoking piece and join the conversation!
In a piece that was covered by The Daily Caller and The Legal Satyricon, Greg discusses the peculiar persistence of Victorian tendencies among campus administrators. He cites numerous examples of cases in which students were the victims of administration’s “selective uptightness” in incidences regarding sex or cursing and how it affects us all:
[T]hese efforts to appease the uptight are doing real damage by harming discourse on campus, impoverishing the marketplace of ideas, and making higher education just a little bit dumber.
Check out The Daily Caller or The Legal Satyricon for the full scoop.
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff was featured on CNET commenting on a French lawsuit filed against the social media giant Twitter. Student groups in France upset over recent anti-Semitic tweets are seeking to punish Twitter under French hate speech laws. However, as Greg argues, this action is dangerous and ultimately counterproductive:
In order to be an effective mirror to global society, Twitter thinks of itself primarily as a platform and does its best to get out of the way. Therefore, we know things we simply would not know otherwise-from the trivial to the serious. The people who want to scour mass media and cleanse it of all hateful or hurtful opinions miss that their purge would deny us important knowledge. Simply put, it is far better to know that there are bigots amongst us than to pretend all is well.
Greg explains how First Amendment principles dismantle common arguments against free speech from academics who “paint themselves as a beleaguered, enlightened minority struggling against the unquestioned dogma of free speech.” Greg demonstrates how allowing individuals to freely express their views-even when distasteful or offensive-is a far healthier way to address social division than suppressing people’s speech. You can read the whole thing over at CNET.