A private university that subjects its students to an “Acts of Intolerance” policy, with a threat of criminal punishment, has caught the attention of a campus watchdog.
Campus Reform reported last month on Furman University, located in Greenville, South Carolina, which warns students against conduct that “serves no scholarly purpose appropriate to the educational experience and demonstrates bias against others.”
The university and its speech code also caught the attention of FIRE, the free speech advocacy group, which highlighted the campus policy for its October “speech code of the month.”
Laura Beltz of FIRE tells OneNewsNow it is rare to see free speech limitations stated in a student code of conduct that warns of “investigation and punishment” if they are violated.
“And even investigation into protected expression like this," she advises, "is not permissible under First Amendment standards."
Furman University, founded in 1826, is home to approximately 2,800 students. It ended its affiliation with the South Carolina Baptist Convention in the 1990s and has distanced itself from founder Rev. Richard Furman, who was a slave owner.
Furman students are warned about “theme parties” in which costumes “reinforce stereotypes,” and the policy goes on with an even bigger warning:
When an Act of Intolerance is targeted toward a specific person, it may rise to the level of discriminatory harassment. It may also constitute a hate crime for the purposes of local, state, or federal law.
The same policy that warns students of committing a “hate crime” also ironically states that students are “guaranteed freedom of inquiry and expression.”