FIRE warns school: 'Hate speech' code could backfire on students

Friday, January 29, 2021
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

'Freedom of Speech' sign held upA small Northeastern university is the latest institution of higher learning to draw the ire of a First Amendment advocacy group.

The speech codes at Northern Vermont University ban disparaging comments and hateful remarks, and that nice-sounding policy earned the school a “red light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

NVU, which formed three years ago when two state colleges combined, has approximately 5,500 students on two campuses.

Laura Beltz of FIRE says such restrictions are too broad, and too open for misinterpretation, and thus drew scrutiny from the education watchdog.  

"The use of slurs isn't protected when it's a part of unlawful conduct, like a threat or something like vandalism,” Beltz advises, “but Northern Vermont's policies ban slurs across the board which includes protected speech."

In a story about the NVU policy, FIRE attempts to explain how the policy can backfire. The ban on racial slurs means black students could be punished for using the “N-word” among themselves, for example, and homosexuals would be punished for saying “queer” and offending someone. Such groups sometimes use such language to “reclaim” words that historically have been used to hurt them, FIRE contends, which means NVU could be harming minorities in its attempt to ban hate from its campus.

According to Beltz, NVU and other schools that clash with FIRE often do so under the false belief that “hate speech” is not protected by the First Amendment.

 

Comments will be temporarily unavailable. Thank you for your patience as we restore this service!

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWS BRIEF

FEATURED PODCAST

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Your initial reaction to video sting revealing CNN's anti-Trump role in the 2020 election?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

  Minnesota police officer faces court hearing on shooting
  US expels Russian diplomats, imposes new round of sanctions
Arizona conservatives want restrictions on sex-ed classes
  Analysis: Biden takes a risk pulling troops from Afghanistan

LATEST FROM THE WEB

America’s media-poisoned well
The misguided call for reparations
Here we go again... now cheese is racist
These lawsuits reveal the left’s goal to banish religion altogether
Tucker Carlson: America is now one nation with two very different justice systems

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
'Over-woke' Harvard students set sights on alumni

signing petitionsAccording to The College Fix, voting Donald Trump out of office wasn't enough for some students at Harvard who are now circulating a petition to go after his supporters as well.