Feds unveil new, drastically restrictive, campus speech regime

FIRE, Hans Bader, Eugene Volokh and other free speech advocates are sounding the alarm about remarkable and extreme guidelines on university discipline emanating from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Education Department Office of Civil Rights. I’ve got more details at Cato at Liberty. Earlier here, here, etc.


  • The proposed campus speech control is in a “seamless garment” with (1) politically-based IRS harassment, (2) blasphemy-law promotion in conjunction with the Benghazi disinformation, and (3) the drive to cut off funding from unapproved speech (ie “the press”– mass dissemination of speech).

    There has been talk about a “litmus test” on abortion for judicial nominees. There should be a “litmus test” for both judicial and executive nominees of robust support for the First Amendment, without which our democratic polity is empty noise.

  • Education writer Joanne Jacobs, and Reason Magazine, have also criticized the speech-suppressing new harassment guidelines that reject the longstanding “reasonable person” limitation on harassment claims and allow even the most isolated (and legitimate) discussions of sexual issues to be deemed “sexual harassment” by defining that to include “any” unwelcome communication that is subjectively offensive to the complainant:



  • George Carlin is now unwelcome on campus.

  • At least this (fairly predictable) outrage has a small silver lining: colleges can exempt themselves by ceasing to accept federal funds. I hope plenty of them will, thus demonstrating to potential new students which are still “serious” universities (as opposed to those that have gone Communist to the point of complete dishonor).

    What the public should be raising hell about is the similar speech code that effectively applies to all workplaces thanks to the so-called sexual harassment law; even small employers can’t exempt themselves from that.

  • Syndicated columnist Mona Charen criticizes this First Amendment violation perpetrated by the Justice Department and Education Department at this link:


    I disagree with the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX. (I used to practice education law, including working at the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights).

    The Administration has also sought to undermine due process protections in campus harassment proceedings:


  • […] More commentators weigh in on the truly horrible new federal campus speech and discipline code [Harvey Silverglate /Juliana DeVries, Minding the Campus; Wendy Kaminer, The Atlantic; Will Creeley, HuffPo; Scott Greenfield; Reason TV; my two cents] […]

  • […] here and here. […]

  • […] got an article on the controversy due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Commentary. Earlier here, here, and here. […]