FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT: FINE, ASSHOLES, GET DECAPITATED, SEE IF I CARE.

Effluvia

MEMORANDUM

TO: SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE FACULTY, STAFF, AND SECURITY OFFICERS

FROM: PRESIDENT STEVEN L. JOHNSON

RE: I WASH MY HANDS OF THIS, AND MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOULS

Dear Sinclair Community:

I have done all I can. But I am only one man.

Last year I alerted you to to the clear and present danger created by signs, posters, fliers, and other weaponized expression wielded by fanatics intent on inflicting idea-crimes on our community. I have struggled to protect Sinclair's right to ban signs and posters and other dangerous items that menace the physical and emotional and psycho-sexual security of our students and that threaten to continue the bloody heritage of 9/11, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and that time someone tried to organize a Young Republicans Club.

I come today to say I have failed you. But your blood will not be on my hands. I did what I could.

As you can see from the crowing of hate groups like the Thomas More Society and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Sinclair has been forced into a settlement of a lawsuit brought by angry student dissidents. We have been backed into amending our Code of Conduct and Campus Access Policy, both of which had been bravely drafted by some of the finest and most progressive minds of the Theater and Sociology Departments. We have no choice but to yield. We are up against the retrograde policies imposed upon us by the so-called First Amendment to the United States Constitution, a document drafted by privileged landowners without any diversity committee input or Faculty Senate debate whatsoever.

So: have your bloody victory, "free speech advocates." Be it on your heads, not on mine, when "protestors" start swinging signs like Viking battleaxes and reaping innocent freshpersons like Autumn wheat.

I take comfort in this: though I have failed in defending an official policy limiting expression that might be hurtful to students, I have nurtured in their hearts the seed of an idea — that they have a right not to have their feelings hurt or offended. I see that hopeful shoot taking root and growing across the country. Those children are surely our future.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

134 Comments

134 Comments

  1. Ken  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:02 am

    Posted on their Facebook page.

  2. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:27 am

    For the sake of discussion, is there a case where speech on campus should be limited? Playing the devil's advocate, I would argue that when it can be shown that speech becomes harassment, significantly impeding the rights of other students, it is no longer protected.

  3. KC  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:31 am

    If you commit idea-crimes, you are libel!

  4. Ken  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:40 am

    For the sake of discussion, is there a case where speech on campus should be limited? Playing the devil's advocate, I would argue that when it can be shown that speech becomes harassment, significantly impeding the rights of other students, it is no longer protected.

    Certainly there are limits. Nobody disputes that. But a blanket "no signs at protests" policy is indefensible and has nothing to do with legitimate limits. And defending such a policy by invoking 9/11 and Virginia Tech is ridiculous. Which is why I ridicule it.

  5. Shane  •  Mar 12, 2013 @11:01 am

    Why ridicule Ken, Why? You thought pony is trampling my love presence.

  6. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @11:14 am

    >Ken

    I'm not trying to auger your post at all, merely looking to understand it in a broader context.

    From my experience, it seems like the hate-speech argument, which may be defensible, has been reinterpreted by social-engineering academics to mean that everyone has "…a right not to have their feelings hurt or offended."

    I think the latter is far more common than the former. This particular case, IMO, is just another skirmish in the ongoing battle for the American Narrative, which has been successfully framed as a battle between two sides — at least in popular culture it has.

  7. BoxyBoxyBoxyBoxy  •  Mar 12, 2013 @12:32 pm

    From my experience, it seems like the hate-speech argument, which may be defensible, has been reinterpreted by social-engineering academics to mean that everyone has "…a right not to have their feelings hurt or offended."

    I'm kind of curious how hate speech policies could possibly be defensible. Care to try defending them? I don't see how they can be made to not be Orwellian nightmares.

  8. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @12:57 pm

    Care to try defending them? Sure, let me play the devil's advocate.

    Contention: Hate Speech within an academic environment is not protected by first amendment rights. Hate Speech is defined as expression that (1) is deliberately harassing in nature, which (2) functions primarily to alienate individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religious identification, sexual orientation, or age; and (3) does nothing to reasonably advance enlightened debate.

    The floor is yours.

  9. Bruce  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:17 pm

    Remind me. Why must debate be reasonable?

  10. Sam  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:23 pm

    Well, crap, by that definition most of the communication I received from my advisor in grad school was hate speech. Then again, I gave up on the reasonable advance of enlightened debate well before that. Ah, grad school.

  11. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:25 pm

    >Bruce

    I think your comment is meant to be ironic, but just in case:

    Saying that speech, which would otherwise be deemed Hate Speech, is protected because it can be reasonably shown to advance enlightened debate, is not the same thing as saying that all debate must be reasonable.

  12. MattS  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:30 pm

    naught_for_naught,

    None of your points 1,2 or 3 constitute valid exceptions to 1A.

  13. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:31 pm

    >Bruce

    Furthermore, I think you're bending your left elbow a bit too much.

  14. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:33 pm

    >MattS

    How so?

  15. Waldo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:35 pm

    "Be it on your heads, not on mine, when "protestors" start swinging signs like Viking battleaxes and reaping innocent freshpersons like Autumn wheat."

    Lol. This is a good line. But, and maybe this is just me, I've always imagined the Vikings using a downward chop, rather than a horizontal swing. Of course, this could just be part of the spoof–after all, who would expect such attention to detail from Steven Johnson?

  16. J Mads  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:36 pm

    A lot of legitimate speech would end up punishable with any sort of 'hate speech' exception to the First Amendment. Do you really want to leave it up to some administrator or judge to decide the difference between legitimate debate and hate speech? Critiques of Israel could easily be interpreted as anti-semitic. Christian beliefs about sexuality could easily be construed as hateful towards homosexuals. An endless number of innocuous jokes could land people in trouble. Even if the power wasn't abused, the fear of being punished for saying something that could be misinterpreted as 'hate speech' would have a terrible chilling effect on free speech.

  17. Rob  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:40 pm

    @Waldo: they probably used a variety of techniques depending on circumstance. Being locked into a single move in combat is a good way to get dead, since most moves can be countered, if known about in advance.

  18. mojo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @1:59 pm

    The answer to bad speech is more speech, not less. And the answer to some schlub banning ALL signs is to mock him mercilessly until he devolves into a little (lime green) puddle of stupid.

    Unless that qualifies as "hate speech", I mean. Wouldn't wanna offend no kangaroos.

  19. wumpus  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:00 pm

    From my experience, it seems like the hate-speech argument, which may be defensible, has been reinterpreted by social-engineering academics to mean that everyone has "…a right not to have their feelings hurt or offended."

    I would claim that before any "academic" attempts to limit speech on campus they should first look at the source of the word and the legend of the "garden of Akademos". I would make a second claim that our hero has already renounced any attempt at being an academic (he claims to be CEO of the college) and simply understands that expecting students to think is bad marketing and will cause them to go elsewhere.

  20. BNT  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:01 pm

    I once spoke with someone who had, as a student (years ago), pushed for our University to adopt speech codes. She felt that she had a right to attend school in a safe environment.

    There is a difference between "They called me [slur] and it hurt my feelings/made me very angry" and "They called me [slur]; there is graffiti around campus saying Death to [slur]s; occasionally a [nonoffensive term for the group] gets beat up and the police don't do a damn thing." She didn't feel asking others to give up hostile and intimidating speech was too much to ask.

    She was not aiming for some the extreme protection-of-feelings PCness some administrations adopt today, such as when a student employee was found guilty of harassment for reading an anti-KKK book on his work break (a co-worker complained; the mere presence of the subject was deemed harassing). She just wanted to be able to walk around campus without hateful things being yelled at her.

    I can't say I agree with her solution (for all of the reasons J Mads listed), but I certainly understand her position.

  21. wumpus  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:01 pm

    Note, only the first paragraph above should be quoted, the second is mine (I see no means to edit it).

  22. Ganilo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:35 pm

    Are you telling us this is real–this is not satire? Even for satire it would be over the top!

    If this guy really exists, and is as stupid as he sounds, how does he find his way to work?

  23. He really said that...?!?  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:47 pm

    I thought that was from The Onion.

  24. Nilsson  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:49 pm

    My guess: Satire, too close to reality to tell them apart.
    b.) Was headhunted into post, no need to commute. Rest of student body not yet accounted for.

  25. MattS  •  Mar 12, 2013 @2:51 pm

    I think the burden of proof aught to be on those suggesting making exceptions to 1A to justify why the exemption should exist. I think any exceptions should be few in number and extremely narrow. Your proposals are anything but narrow.

  26. David Schwartz  •  Mar 12, 2013 @3:00 pm

    naught_for_naught: The problem is that your third prong does all the work, and it's inherently subjective. Sure we can all agree that speech that does nothing to advance reasonable debate does nothing to advance reasonable debate. But if we can't come up with objective standards for what constitutes "reasonable debate", and I suspect we can't, the result will be that the rules and their enforcement will be arbitrary and chilling.

  27. BoxyBoxyBoxy  •  Mar 12, 2013 @3:44 pm

    Contention: Hate Speech within an academic environment is not protected by first amendment rights. Hate Speech is defined as expression that (1) is deliberately harassing in nature, which (2) functions primarily to alienate individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religious identification, sexual orientation, or age; and (3) does nothing to reasonably advance enlightened debate.

    I would suggest that policies banning speech that fits the criteria you state would deny due process inherently, and that rather heated but legitimate debates could be shut down very quickly regardless of point #3. They all seem to be based on the discretion of administrators, law enforcement officers, judges, or whoever else holds a given fief. They would easily become a tool of the politically powerful to crush their opponents.

    As an example, an administrator might decide that a protest against abortion is (1) inherently harassing because of the graphic nature of the images that they tend to use at those, (2) they believe that opposing abortion is a misogynistic position to take above all else, and (3) that the debate over abortion is no more legitimate than a debate over slavery. Also importantly, an administrator could potentially pull all of that out of their ass like I just did.

    This sort of thing has been used to shut down protests of Israeli foreign policy as well, if I remember correctly. Do you believe that shutting down protests like this would be productive, or a legitimate exercise of administrative power?

    I would also suggest that there is no way to really extract the properties that I described from such policies and leave anything intact.

  28. princessartemis  •  Mar 12, 2013 @3:49 pm

    naught_for_naught, that's a definition of "hate speech". Where is the defense? I'm not saying that I personally am interested in engaging in a debate about the subject, just that I am curious what your defense is, in the interest of learning new things.

  29. froonium  •  Mar 12, 2013 @4:40 pm

    Can I invoke Miller's Corollary?

  30. Lost in Japan  •  Mar 12, 2013 @4:47 pm

    As a slightly less informed reader…

    What is the problem with a universal ban (from what I can tell that is what was done) on graphic displays for the purpose of protest/manipulation? It seems to me, from the outside, that this was done to ensure that the act of protesting is done through rational debate as opposed to shock tactics, and that this ban applied to more than just your usual anti-abortionist graphic imagery but any poster/sign within the campus grounds.

    If it specifically targeted one group, I could see it as being a restriction on free speech, but this seems to be a pretty universal ban.

    That being said, some of his other activities seemed largely over the top… (as per the first linked article)

  31. ShelbyC  •  Mar 12, 2013 @5:08 pm

    @naught_for_naught, OK, why must debate be enlighteded? And who decides if debate is enlighteded?

  32. wgering  •  Mar 12, 2013 @5:16 pm

    …drafted by some of the finest and most progressive minds of the Theater and Sociology Departments.

    Hey now, don't paint all us theater-types with that thurr "progressive" brush. Our towers are only luan painted to look like ivory.

    Now WGS and PCS majors, those guys are insufferable.

  33. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @5:34 pm

    >Shelby C.

    Who said, "debate be enlighteded (sic)?"

  34. MZ  •  Mar 12, 2013 @5:37 pm

    I'm usually a big proponent of the "the answer to bad speech is more speech, not less" school, but I think that there is a fine line in the construct of an academic community where certain speech can be so hateful and upsetting to others that it severely harms their ability to get an education in a safe environment.

    It would not be unreasonable for a college to ban a student who persists in disrupting class by shouting nonsense. The college wouldn't be banning the student because of a judgement on the content of the nonsense, but rather would act to remove someone whose speech prevents others from learning.

    In much the same way, I can certainly see a situation where odious hate speech is so, well, hateful so as to be just as disruptive, if not more, than the nonsense-spouting disruptor. If the speech is specifically targeted at a particular group of persons, the burden of that disruption will bear especially strongly on members of the community who belong to that group. Regulating that speech might well be a good trade-off in balancing the speaker's right to free speech and others' rights to an education.

  35. David Schwartz  •  Mar 12, 2013 @5:51 pm

    MZ: Four reasons:

    1) There's no objective way to define what hate speech is and the net effect will be arbitrary or biased enforcement leading to chilling effects.

    2) It will change the debate from which side is right to which side's arguments are hate speech. (Is advocating abortion advocating the slaughter of innocent babies? Or is argument it should be prohibited hate speech against women?)

    3) It will reward the groups that get the most offended (they'll have the best case that dissent can be suppressed as hate speech) or whose behavior is the most offensive at its core (because it will be the hardest to argue against them without it being offensive to their group identity).

    4) There's a better way. Preserve and defend the right not to listen and the right to be free from being compelled to listen (other than to the actual curriculum, of course).

  36. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @6:02 pm

    >Shelby C

    Let me try that again sans shit. Nowhere in my proposed criteria did I say that debate must be enlightened. What I proposed was a three-pronged test of speech to determine if it goes beyond what is protected. It must (1) be deliberate harassment that (2) targets any one person or group of people on the basis of listed demographics, that (3) cannot be reasonably defended as an expression in furtherance of debate.

    As David Schwartz rightly pointed out, the onus is on the speaker to demonstrate that his/her speech somehow advances enlightened debate, having otherwise been shown to be deliberate harassment of persons or people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or age.

    Who decides? Ultimately, the courts would have the last say.

  37. Josh  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:01 pm

    Brilliant!

  38. En Passant  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:06 pm

    froonium wrote Mar 12, 2013 @4:40 pm:

    Can I invoke Miller's Corollary?

    I think Poe's law is more applicable, or perhaps Schwarz' or Morgan's earlier observations.

  39. David Schwartz  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:11 pm

    naught_for_naught: I'm afraid I have to take issue with your "deliberately harassing" prong. I presume this means that I know that some people would find it harassing and say it nonetheless. But does it matter if their finding it harassing is rational or not? Say I want to argue that Barack Obama should be impeached for his drone strikes in Pakistan. And say I know that some people, no matter what I say or how I say it, will find this harassing. Would saying it constitute "deliberate harassment"?

    Because all this does is ensure that everyone who wants to suppress speech will ensure that the speech they want to suppress is known to be found harassing to them.

    And your second prong doesn't work either because there will be a battle to add protected classes until every conceivable position is a protected class on the list.

  40. J Mads  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:18 pm

    MZ, banning 'hate speech' is totally different than stopping a student from shouting out during class. 'Hate speech' makes the expression of certain ideas punishable; imposing silence on students in class just recognizes the educational purpose of the class and the teacher's right to the space. That's not punishing the student for what they say or think, the way 'hate speech' rules do. You can also make people be quiet during a concert, and ban loud protesters from marching through a library, or prevent a protest of 1,000 people from using a building with a capacity of 200. You just can't punish them for WHAT they say, or restrict speech without a good reason ("signs are weapons!" being a bad reason).

  41. Waldo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:19 pm

    n for n, your three suggested criteria are so vague and ambiguous that I have no idea what you intend. "Deliberate harassment" does that mean the speaker intended to harass the person or group, that the speaker knew that the person or group would feel harassed, that the speaker knew there was a likelihood or significant risk that the person or group would feel harassed? Does harassment require repetitive action or is once enough? What speech rises to the level of "harassment" What do you mean by "targeting?" Does that include speech directed to the student body in general or is this limited to speech to the person or group? And, "reasonably defended as an expression in furtherance of debate" is so vague as to be meaningless.

    While you say the courts ultimately decide, the first to decide would be the school administration. Anytime a rule is so vague, you give great power to those in power who apply the rule. I think it would be extremely cold comfort for a student to go the time, effort, and expense to file a lawsuit to counter an administration hostile to the student's speech.

    I've heard speech regarding affirmative action, abortion, Israel-Palestine, same sex marriage, etc. labeled "hate speech" by those who dislike what the speaker has to say or how it was said. Those in power would gladly suppress such disfavored speech given the chance while allowing opposing speech they like, which they would have under your suggested rule.

  42. Waldo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:34 pm

    A little further to my point that saying some vague hate speech rule is okay because the courts would prevent abuse, take a look at the settlement in this case (linked in the original post). The school ended up paying $9,681 to the plaintiffs and their attorneys. I'd be surprised if that comes close to covering the litigation expenses and reasonable fees of the attorneys. The plaintiffs were extremely lucky that a first amendment group took their case because there's no money in this type of case for an attorney or firm trying to turn a profit to take such cases. And, this is such a blatant violation and even ridiculous case (no signs because signs are weapons!!). Telling someone that they can file a lawsuit if they don't like their speech being restricted is not much of a practical remedy in the vast majority of situations. In reality, most students will knuckle under to pressure, take their punishment, and learn not to question authority, while their ire at whatever group they allegedly harassed will only increase because of the forceful repression. Those students not involved will learn not to make waves and to make sure their speech doesn't offend the wrong people or is not asserted too vigorously.

  43. James Pollock  •  Mar 12, 2013 @7:51 pm

    "there's no money in this type of case for an attorney or firm trying to turn a profit to take such cases."
    Good. I guess that makes it different from, say, enforcing the tiny details of the ADA, which I understand to be a lucrative practice area (assuming you don't mind never being able to eat at a restaurant again.)

    "no signs" sounds content-neutral to me. (Now, the compelling state interest I might have gone with is fighting littering, but that doesn't sound as compelling as "signs can be weapons", which they certainly can be, depending on how they're made.)

  44. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @8:05 pm

    >David Schwartz, et al.,

    I'm afraid I have to take issue with your "deliberately harassing" prong. I presume this means that I know that some people would find it harassing and say it nonetheless.

    I would think that it has to be unequivocally deliberate and harassing (read purposeful intimidation). None of the examples cited thus far would actually qualify as hate speech. Nor would this: http://youtu.be/gfNhiRGQ-js, as Bruce's use of "epithets" serve the specific purpose of advancing enlightened debate on the issue of race and language.

    An example of actual hate speech might be the tagging of a dorm-room door with a swastika, done to specifically intimidate a Jewish coed roomed there. In this case, that expression would have been done deliberately to harass another based on his religion without any reasonable intent of advancing enlightened date. Enlightened debate might occur as a consequence, but, as it was not the intent on the tagger, the expression would be considered hate speech.

  45. ShelbyC  •  Mar 12, 2013 @8:13 pm

    @n for n, how 'bout a rainbow post it on an anti-gay marriage advocate's door?

  46. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 12, 2013 @8:20 pm

    how 'bout a rainbow post it on an anti-gay marriage advocate's door?

    I'll answer your question if you can honestly tell me that your example meets both of the first two criteria. Is it done deliberately to harass someone because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or age? Or is it just a dick move based on someone's dislike of another's political beliefs?

  47. MattS  •  Mar 12, 2013 @8:56 pm

    naught_for_naught,

    You have put fort a test for what you think constitutes hate speech, though many think it is seriously flawed. I also think it is flawed on it's face, but that isn't my main issue. You still have put forward not one reason why hate speech should not be protected under 1A.

  48. David Schwartz  •  Mar 12, 2013 @9:05 pm

    "Enlightened debate might occur as a consequence, but, as it was not the intent on the tagger, the expression would be considered hate speech."

    What if the tagger says that one of the things he was trying to do was reignite the debate about how Jews are the problem in society and should be exterminated? What if the tagger says that one of the things he was trying to do was reignite the debate about how Jews should be publicly intimidated? What if he seems genuinely sincere about these things?

    Your new "purposeful intimidation" prong is no better. If you believe abortion is murder and should be punished as such, how can you express that view coherently without purposefully intimidating those who say they would perform abortions even if they were made illegal because they believe a woman's right to choose controls? What if you believe that converting to Judaism is a one-way ticket to Hell? How can you coherently and honestly express that without purposefully intimidating anyone?

    I can't see any way to operate these tests that isn't arbitrary, ineffective, and/or dishonest.

  49. Waldo  •  Mar 12, 2013 @9:25 pm

    n for n, your example of the swastika on a student's dorm room seems much, much different from what proponents of hate speech want to do with such restrictions. The main distinction is that this speech is directed toward a particular individual who doesn't want to be forced to listen to it (not to mention that the speech in your example probably should would be prohibited for vandalizing the dorm room and as a true threat). I've got no problem with prohibiting harassment of an individual. You shouldn't be able to follow someone around campus all the time preaching to him or her about the evils of X. It doesn't even matter whether the basis of the harassment is that person's race, gender, etc. or whether the speech is reasonable in any sense. You shouldn't be able to follow someone around campus telling what a great guy you are, how the two of you are perfect, and that you all should be together for eternity even if presented in a calm, rationale, and reasonable manner. That sort of individual harassment, however, is very different from posting something online or holding a public demonstration, which are the sort of things that I've seen advocates of hate speech codes targeting. In those cases, if someone doesn't like the speech, he or she can avoid listening to the speech.

  50. James Pollock  •  Mar 12, 2013 @9:41 pm

    "You shouldn't be able to follow someone around campus telling what a great guy you are, how the two of you are perfect, and that you all should be together for eternity even if presented in a calm, rationale, and reasonable manner."
    Why not? (Assuming "around campus" = public space). Why does one person get to be there, and the other doesn't, based solely on the content of their speech?

  51. James Pollock  •  Mar 12, 2013 @9:44 pm

    "posting something online or holding a public demonstration, which are the sort of things that I've seen advocates of hate speech codes targeting."
    Both of these things involve using the institution's property. Why shouldn't the institution get to choose how its property is used?

  52. mike  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:15 pm

    I came across this blog because of the Prenda saga, and I must say Ken's coverage of it was excellent. However, I regret that I won't be sticking around. While the Prenda coverage nothing short of amazing, every other article I've seen so far has been incredibly childish and preachy. Its such a complete 180 that it doesn't even sound like the same person. Not to mention that the comments here are just a giant circlejerk… Anyway, here's hoping for more articles like the Prenda ones.

  53. AlphaCentauri  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:16 pm

    When you paint a swastika on a synagogue, or burn a cross on the lawn of the new Black family on the block, there's an implied threat. Those actions in the past have led to mob violence. It's serious enough to make people consider moving out of their homes. Nobody ever was afraid of being rainbow-postit-noted to death.

    As far as the sign rule, I'm guessing that someone got their pants in a knot over some group protesting with vulgar signs during prospective student weekend, the administration discussed how to control it without it being a free-speech issue, and someone came up with the great idea to ban all signs regardless of content since that's what his condo association does.

  54. Ken  •  Mar 12, 2013 @10:19 pm

    @mike:

    I doubt you'll like any further Prenda articles, because I'll probably start them by pointing out that you're an entitled twat.

    Edit: Actually, to spare myself the trouble and avoid the temptation to clutter my Prenda posts, I'm just going to ban you. Go away now. It's time to find a blog that doesn't disappoint you.

  55. Anony Mouse  •  Mar 12, 2013 @11:04 pm

    Isn't harassment of students already banned? Isn't defacing school property already banned (eg: swastica on door)? These hate speech rules seem a lot like passing additional rules to deal with things that are already covered. Much like passing laws against talking on a cell phone while driving when "distracted driving" is already illegal.

    I can't blame that girl for wanting to have death threats stop, but it seems apparatus for that already exists, independant of hate speech rules.

    Also, n_f_n, the problem with your criteria is the lack of justification for said criteria. Rights are a positive thing. You need a compelling reason to suppress them; you can't shift the burdon and require the right to justify itself. I don't need to tell you why I should be allowed to walk around spouting off like a jackass, you need to justify why I shouldn't be allowed to.

  56. OnTheWaterfront  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:53 am

    This guy should write for The Onion. (Dr. Steven L. Johnson that is)

  57. J Mads  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:28 am

    @James Pollock, this case is about a public university, right? So the reason they don't "get to choose how [their] property is used", regarding speech, is the First Amendment. Private schools are free to restrict use of their property in order to censor, and do, so you don't find many pro-choice groups on religious campuses, for example. But I would argue that makes them worse educational institutions, and many private schools make semi-contractual promises of free speech anyway.

  58. Jasper Janssen  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:56 am

    Defacing school property is a red herring. If you draw it on the whiteboard outside the door or on a piece of paper taped to the door, you're not damaging anybody's property, but you're still harassing the person in question.

    @James pollock: following someone around, forcing them to listen to your speech, is harassment, and gets you a restraining order. The guiding principel of the first is that you have the right to express your opinion — you do not have the right to make anyone listen.

  59. John Fast  •  Mar 13, 2013 @5:26 am

    @Ken:
    Come on, isn't there a better way to deal with mike than just banning him?

    Besides, how else can he learn good behavior other than by seeing it modeled (and by having poor behavior pointed out) here (and similar blogs)?

  60. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @6:45 am

    @Naught: I started writing a big long thing, but I'll be brief, for once in my life. The devil has no case; if he hired you as his advocate, you got suckered, and you ought to quit and tell him to find some wet behind the ears public defender. Satan ("Hate speech laws") vs. Freedom is a loser from day one. Not even the Chewbacca defense can help Satan here. Best to distance yourself from your client.

  61. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @6:57 am

    One more quick thing, then I really need to get back to work, because, sadly, no one pays me to pontificate on the Internet. (If anyone wants to, let's talk!) It seems, as usually the case, that "furthering enlightened debate" means "speech that offends people I think deserve to be offended", and "hate speech" means "speech that offends". Thus, the "Cthulhu Fish" and "Republicans For Voldemort" decorations on my car (yes, really, both of them) would be an example of "furthering enlightened debate because the Oppressive White Male Christian Patriarchy deserves to have their privilege criticized", while someone else's anti-gay bumper sticker is "hate speech" that constitutes "harassment" if anyone can just walk by the parking lot, see it, and feel "singled out" on the basis of their sexual orientation. (I consider such displays useful, because I can then "single out" the owner of the car as a bigoted asshole, but that's just me.)

  62. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:42 am

    >Mike

    Not to mention that the comments here are just a giant circlejerk… Anyway, here's hoping for more articles like the Prenda ones.

    We will miss your strong capable hands.

  63. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:48 am

    "following someone around, forcing them to listen to your speech, is harassment, and gets you a restraining order."
    Sure it does. But that wasn't the question. Nobody in my question is "forcing them to listen". Try again.

  64. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:54 am

    "these things involve using the institution's property. Why shouldn't the institution get to choose how its property is used?"

    "this case is about a public university, right? So the reason they don't "get to choose how [their] property is used", regarding speech, is the First Amendment."
    So you can go anywhere you want on a public university, any time you want, as long as you're talking while you do it?

  65. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:56 am

    In defense of Hate Speech Laws —

    (shamelessly cribbed from the Santa Clara University website, http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v5n2/codes.html)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The harm prevented by hate speech codes is more important than the freedom they restrict. When hate speech is directed at a student from a protected group, the effect is much more than hurt feelings. The verbal attack is a symptom of an oppressive history of discrimination and subjugation that plagues the harmed student and hinders his or her ability to compete fairly in the academic arena. The resulting harm is clearly significant and, therefore, justifies limiting speech rights.

    In addition to minimizing harm, hate speech codes result in other benefits. The university is ideally a forum where views are debated using rational argumentation; part of a student's education is learning how to derive and rationally defend an opinion. The hate speech that codes target, in contrast, is not presented rationally or used to provoke debate. In fact, hate speech often intends to provoke violence. Hate speech codes emphasize the need to support convictions with facts and reasoning while protecting the rights of potential victims.

    Finally, hate speech codes are morally essential to a just resolution of the conflict .between civil rights (e.g., freedom from harmful stigma and humiliation) and civil liberties (e.g., freedom of speech). At the heart of the conflict is the fact that under-represented students cannot claim fair and equal access to freedom of speech and other rights when there is an imbalance of power between them and students in the majority. If a black student, for example, shouts an epithet at a white student, the white student may become upset or feel enraged, but he or she has little reason to feel terror or intimidation. Yet when a white student directs an epithet toward a black student or a Jewish student, an overt history of subjugation intensifies the verbal attack that humiliates and strikes institutional fear in the victim. History shows that words of hatred are amplified when they come from those in power and abridged when spoken by the powerless.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  66. Ken  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:14 am

    We've had dozens, if not hundreds, of posts about vague speech codes and laws. I find it bizarre that the one that inspires discussion of the line between free speech and harassment is not a tough or close call, but a post about a school's policy banning all signs at protests because 9/11.

  67. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:14 am

    In defense of Hate Speech Laws should read In Defense of Hate Speech Codes on College Campuses

    Wow! Pope for a day, and already the over-reaching begins. I may not be the best person to make this decision.

  68. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:22 am

    >Ken

    My interest was piqued because it is such an absurdly clear case unconstitutional prior restraint. My mind went from that to the question, well when would restrictions on free speech be appropriate, if ever? It's really the starkness of the contrast for me.

  69. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:23 am

    "History shows that words of hatred are amplified when they come from those in power and abridged when spoken by the powerless. "

    So, yeah. We start with "hate speech codes are necessary because students need to feel free from harassment", and end with "of course, some students deserve to be harassed, so too bad for them". Delightfully Orwellian: "Discrimination Is Equality".

    I find it difficult to comprehend that anyone with enough neurons to use a keyboard without it short-circuiting from the drool would find anything here logical or morally defensible.

  70. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:24 am

    "My mind went from that to the question, well when would restrictions on free speech be appropriate, if ever?"

    In terms of the speech being discussed here, when they incite imminent lawless action. That was easy.

  71. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:25 am

    "I find it bizarre that the one that inspires discussion of the line between free speech and harassment is not a tough or close call"

    Really? Where the call is close, the discussion will tend to focus on the minutiae of which way the call should go. Where the call is not close, that opens up the field to a discussion of larger principles.

  72. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:32 am

    I find it difficult to comprehend that anyone with enough neurons to use a keyboard without it short-circuiting from the drool would find anything here logical or morally defensible.

    THREE WORDS: Drool Cup

  73. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:35 am

    How about this… if free speech includes carrying signs at a protest, why doesn't it include carrying glass bottles at the sporting stadium?

  74. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:41 am

    I C wot U did th3r

  75. Ken  •  Mar 13, 2013 @8:43 am

    Are glass bottles at a sporting stadium traditional methods of expression?

  76. J Mads  •  Mar 13, 2013 @9:42 am

    @James Pollock, I'm saying you can't restrict someone from speaking, not that you can't restrict where it occurs. Those restrictions just need to be reasonable and allow for some appropriate substitute for the speaker. Saying "the entire campus is a 24/7 educational environment, where everything said or experienced must be regulated" is totally unreasonable, and gives no substitute forum for free speech. Usually the problem is fighting schools that give inadequate substitutes, like tiny "free speech zones", but in this case there's just a TOTAL BAN on signs.

  77. MattS  •  Mar 13, 2013 @9:53 am

    naught_for_naught,

    "THREE WORDS: Drool Cup"

    That is either four or two words depending on how you want to count it.

    I have to go now, so many nits to pick today. :)

  78. MattS  •  Mar 13, 2013 @9:55 am

    Ken,

    "Are glass bottles at a sporting stadium traditional methods of expression?"

    That depends on whether you agree or disagree with the most recent decision by the officials on the field. :)

  79. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @9:57 am

    @Jmads — based on my understanding of the law, "time, place, and manner" restrictions are generally allowed if they serve a compelling interest AND are content neutral. One of the key factors in determining if a speech regulation is Constitutional is if it explicitly or implicitly targets a subset of all speech. (An implicit target is restricting an activity without mentioning a specific type of content, but where the activity is almost universally associated with those who express a well-defined idea, such as banning "picketing at military funerals" with the express and clear intent of silencing one particular group.)

    Harassment law, in general, is content neutral. You don't charge someone with harassment if they follow you everywhere quoting from Karl Marx, but not if they follow you everywhere quoting from Stan Lee. It's not the words they're expressing that make it harassment, it's their unwelcome presence and deliberate targeting of an individual.

  80. WDO  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:15 am

    As a free-speech proponent I find support for (and the existence of) speech-codes deeply offensive. I feel that such instruments are specifically targeted at people like me and they cause palpable psychological harm. Moreover, the fear of prosecution and the harmful stigma I'd face for opposing them is emotionally damaging and creates a hostile environment.

    Given the oppressive history of speech control throughout history and the world today, the climate of fear and hate created by speech-code advocates for people like me makes it impossible to engage in a rational exchange of ideas.

  81. J Mads  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:21 am

    Yeah that's my understanding as well

  82. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:29 am

    "Are glass bottles at a sporting stadium traditional methods of expression?"
    Let's recap:
    signs: may or may not express anything in and of themselves, typically used to summarize a complicated argument into a short message. Thus, an aid to expression. Certainly not required in order to express an opinion on the topic at hand. Could be used as a weapon, in some cases.
    bottles: may or may not express anything in and of themselves, typically used to contain substances that substantially affect the message; an aid to expression. Certainly not required to express an opinion on the topic at hand. Could be used as a weapon, in some cases.

  83. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:36 am

    "I'm saying you can't restrict someone from speaking, not that you can't restrict where it occurs. Those restrictions just need to be reasonable and allow for some appropriate substitute for the speaker….in this case there's just a TOTAL BAN on signs."

    OK. So, is "express your speech with speech, and not with signs" not an appropriate substitute? (I'll concede that it is not at Gallaudet, but what about other unitversities?)

  84. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:38 am

    "Given the oppressive history of speech control throughout history and the world today, the climate of fear and hate created by speech-code advocates for people like me makes it impossible to engage in a rational exchange of ideas."

    There exists evidence against this claim.
    http://www.popehat.com/2013/03/12/from-the-desk-of-the-president-fine-assholes-get-decapitated-see-if-i-care/comment-page-2/#comment-998025

  85. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @10:43 am

    "based on my understanding of the law, "time, place, and manner" restrictions are generally allowed if they serve a compelling interest AND are content neutral."

    You missed one… it also has to be "narrowly tailored"…

    A ban on signs of any message is content neutral. It's not so clear that the problem addressed is one of compelling interest, and it's certainly not narrowly tailored. A ban on signs that could be used as weapons, regardless of the writing on them, might pass muster, being then a restriction on bringing weapons to a protest rather than a limitation on protesting.

  86. J Mads  •  Mar 13, 2013 @11:21 am

    of course "express your speech with speech, not with signs" is an unreasonable and inadequate substitute for signage. The purpose of signs is inherently expressive, right? Wholesale bans on them are therefore obviously infringements on free speech. If you can ban protesting in the form of signs, couldn't you also say "express your speech with prose, not with songs" or "express your speech with similes, not with metaphors"? A meaningful right to free speech must include the ability to choose your means of peaceful expression.

  87. princessartemis  •  Mar 13, 2013 @11:29 am

    The harm prevented by hate speech codes is more important than the freedom they restrict.

    Speaking as a woman, disabled, who rather regularly sees people talk about the moral rightness of aborting potentially disabled children lest they lead a life of suffering, I find far greater empowerment and satisfaction in exercising my natural rights than I find harm in slurs and nasty words. I don't like the nasty words, no, they hurt and they feel bad. I don't like the fact that it is true that not long ago in the history of mankind, people like me would be locked up in institutions having our brains turned to jelly in an attempt to "cure" our "psychological disorders". I don't like being reminded of that, it will surely put a damper on a nice day. What else I don't like? People threatening to curtail anyone's freedom to express themselves in order to spare my precious feelings. Because if others have their freedoms abriged, it is only a matter of moments until mine are abridged, and that is exactly what wrong headed people with power used to do to people like me, isn't it?

    Boy, I said I didn't want to get into this, but some things just set me off.

  88. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @11:32 am

    There is also the concept that the communicative value of some forms of expression is less than that of others, and this weighs in to deciding if the restriction on speech is balanced against the "narrowly tailored purpose". A sign, in general, has a higher communicative value than a thrown bottle. Although a thrown bottle clearly sends a significant message, it pretty much is limited to messages of dislike, contempt, disapproval, or hatred, and is further limited in that it can't express anything if a person or object representative of what it opposes is not physically present within throwing range. A sign saying "Impeach Clinton, Guilted To Twelve Galaxies!" can send its message anywhere, but you can't send the same message with a bottle unless Clinton, or some obvious stand-in, like a photo or statue of him, is within a certain range, said range varying greatly depending on if you're using Champions or D&D rules.

  89. JR  •  Mar 13, 2013 @11:55 am

    James Pollock and naught_for_naught seem to have good intentions, but lack means by which to prevent others from circumventing them.

    Redefining objects based on their potential to be used as weapons, and speech according to some potentially adverse emotional response of a listener, negates all other uses or emotional responses.

    Such vaguely defined rules are most commonly used as a catch-all for oppressive groups and authority figures to silence the opposition or those perceived to challenge said authority by limiting or removing their means of expression without having to prove just cause.

  90. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @12:16 pm

    >princessartemis

    Boy, I said I didn't want to get into this, but some things just set me off.

    It does get the blood going, and that's why I would ask you to look beyond your own feelings. hate speech codes aren't about protecting feelings, or preventing the hard knocks that life gives to some while others spend their days blithely working on their short game.

    Hate speech codes are meant to protect students who are otherwise being denied their own rights.

    >JR

    …good intentions, but lack means by which to prevent others from circumventing them.

    The inability to guarantee a perfect outcome at the outset is not a sufficient reason to ignore the harm done by unchecked hate speech. Righting the misuse of these codes is the business of an academic review process and ultimately the courts.

  91. princessartemis  •  Mar 13, 2013 @12:24 pm

    naught_for_naught, what rights are being denied to people because others rights *aren't* being infringed? Explain that, and maybe I, someone who comes at this at least partly from the direction of the sort of person hate speech codes are allegedly designed to protect the rights of, might understand.

  92. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @12:51 pm

    @Naught: What rights are they being denied?

    Furthermore, since there are no laws banning hate speech off campus, doesn't sheltering students from it for four years (worse, having it applied asymmetrically, so some students can indulge in it and others can't, an outcome explicitly deemed desirable by the piece you quoted), leave them unprepared to deal with the real world, when they learn they can't silence people who call them mean names, and/or find that what speech codes might exist, in a private workplace for example, will NOT be applied asymmetrically and distress/confuse them when they find they suddenly have to play by the same rules as everyone else?

    Legally, the doctrine of "Sure, it MIGHT be abused, but we'll let the courts handle that" has been generally rejected when it can be shown that there is a constant and consistent pattern of such abuse of similar laws in the past — which there is. The government, in the CDA case, tried to argue that just because the law was ridiculously overbroad didn't mean it would be used badly, that the court should just give the poor ol' government a chance to show it wouldn't abuse its power. The court laughed at that, by 9-0.

    Further, you keep claiming that speech codes aren't about hurt feelings — but you've shown no "right" being violated other than the presumed "right" to not have one's feelings hurt. There is no such right. There is no right to feel accepted, loved, tolerated, or approved of. There's no right to feel "normal". There's no right to *anything* that compels the thoughts of others or denies them the ability to express those thoughts within the very broad lines that have been drawn over centuries of debate and jurisprudence. There ARE laws which protect an individual from harassment targeted at them, as a person, but there are no laws that protect an individual from speech which targets some collective to which the individual belongs, because collectives have no rights.

    Let me flip your argument: If a person feels that they, personally, have been harmed by someone else's speech, let them take that person to court and let the existing laws against harassment, slander, threat, and so on, deal with the case. Any harm to an individual which is severe enough that you could justify carving an exception to free speech is certainly severe enough to be of interest to the existing legal system.

  93. JR  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:24 pm

    @naught_for_naught

    The inability to guarantee a perfect outcome at the outset is not a sufficient reason to ignore the harm done by unchecked hate speech. Righting the misuse of these codes is the business of an academic review process and ultimately the courts.

    Your argument is calling for one group to justify why its rights should not be limited by another. Yet the group you haven chosen to advocate in this conversation has no obligation to justify the limitations it imposes on the rights of others.

    We may never be able to word something in such a way that it could not be abused by a sufficiently determined miscreant, but that does not make it right to use broad generalizations and a blatant disregard for due process in our efforts.

    I did, however, lol at your response to Mike.

  94. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:36 pm

    >princessartemis, Lizard

    Seriously. When a student is subjected to intimidation and harassment in the form of hate speech, he or she is hindered in his or her ability to compete fairly in the academic arena. I'm not sure what you see when you visualize when you hear the term hate speech, so let me introduce some exhibits, so we can create a benchmark:

    1: http://i.imgur.com/jSSFXp6.jpg
    2: http://i.imgur.com/6SqplWY.jpg
    3: http://i.imgur.com/jK2xtQK.jpg
    4: http://i.imgur.com/yrhMX7f.jpg
    5: http://i.imgur.com/fzz2Viw.jpg

    Can you look at these images and say with a straight face that these students are not being intimidated and thereby denied their equal rights under the 14th amendment?

    If not, then we still have more to argue about. If yes, then you agree that hate speech must be balanced against the student's right to a learning environment free from intimation and harassment in the form of hate speech.

  95. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:46 pm

    I should note that colleges which do not take any government money can, and do, have very restrictive codes of behavior. Bob Jones University, or Pennsacola Christian College, for example. Perhaps those who feel that the lack of a speech code makes it impossible for them to do what's required of college students (show up to at least half your classes; don't puke on the Dean; if you study Animal Hubandry, don't get caught) should consider transferring to such schools.

  96. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:51 pm

    "A sign, in general, has a higher communicative value than a thrown bottle."
    Whoa. Who's talking about THROWING bottles? I'm talking about holding on to mine, and expressing my opinion "I like this beverage very much!", which was brutally and savagely put down at the local sporting events stadium. Why, the stadium guards discarded my message out of hand, as if it were worth nothing. Meanwhile, a rival beverage was sold openly right there at the stadium.

  97. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:52 pm

    Sorry about the repeat. My posts were hanging because of the number of links I included.

  98. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @1:53 pm

    "Redefining objects based on their potential to be used as weapons"

    What redefining? Being whacked over the head with a stick hurts just as much if there's a piece of cardboard stapled to it or not.

  99. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:03 pm

    "of course "express your speech with speech, not with signs" is an unreasonable and inadequate substitute for signage."
    How so? Except for the obvious situation I previously conceded, I mean.

    "The purpose of signs is inherently expressive, right?"
    No, I don't see that. Usually or typically, I'd go for, inherently, not so much. And in any case, things that ARE inherently expressive can also be prohibited. For example, pulling up a jacket or shirt to expose a holster during a face-to-face dispute is inherently expressive.
    Not recommended in a dispute over a speeding ticket.

    "Wholesale bans on them are therefore obviously infringements on free speech."
    True. But… it's an answer to the wrong question. At issue is whether it is (or could be) a justifiable infringement on free speech. For example, telling me that I can't use a 200 dB amplifier to make my speech is definitely and obviously an infringement on free speech. However, it is justifiable because at that amplification level, I'd be doing significant damage to the hearing of anyone nearby. Rights aren't absolute; they meet their limits where they intersect other rights.

    "If you can ban protesting in the form of signs, couldn't you also say "express your speech with prose, not with songs""
    Can't you say that even if you CAN'T ban protesting in the form of signs? These things are unrelated.

    "A meaningful right to free speech must include the ability to choose your means of peaceful expression."
    Not so. Or, does no one in America have a meaningful right to free speech, since they are prohibited from transmitting their speech across the entire RF spectrum? (dozens more examples available if needed.) There will ALWAYS be restrictions on your ability to choose your means of expression (peaceful or otherwise).

  100. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:10 pm

    if you study Animal Husbandry, don't get caught

    Coffee out the nose on that.

  101. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:12 pm

    Based on the set of 6 originally posted, the second and the last look like situations where a "reasonable person" could fear being physically attacked, which is not a free speech issue; the close proximity of the crowd to the individuals makes the line between "advocacy" and "incitement" fine enough that I'd err on the side of caution and act to protect the individuals from the mob. Shove the mob back about 30 feet and establish a decent protective boundary and let them hoot and holler all they want. This is the standard established in cases of anti-abortion protesters, for example.

    On the effigy, I'd have to know what is was an effigy of. Does it matter to you? Would have have one reaction if it was an effigy of a rich man being burned by the Student Collective For Economic Equality, or an effigy of an Israeli being burned by Students In Sympathy With Palestine, and another if it was an effigy of a Jew being burned by Americans For White Power?

    And, of course, the reality is that actual cases brought under "hate speech" codes on college campuses — the actual uses to which these laws have been put in the past decade or two — do not even come close to those images. There's ample examples on this site. Go look. And I offer this counter-challenge: Find me an example of that kind of behavior on a college campus in the last five years, which would have been prevented by a speech code, but which was not. Hint: A party where people dress up as racial stereotypes doesn't count. "Being a fratboy asshat" is not a hate crime. Spraypainting a swastika on someone (else's) dorm room is vandalism, not speech, and no one claims otherwise. I doubt anyone would object to a college enforcing a code that protected its property, provided no distinction was made between a swastika and "Go, Team!" when it came to enforcement. Etc.

    A question: Would you consider someone walking across a college campus wearing a Mao t-shirt to be equally guilty, or not guilty, under your conception of a proper speech code, as someone walking across a college campus wearing a Hitler t-shirt? Why or why not?

    And, again, I repeat — since protests, etc, which target specific groups in various ways are 100% legal off campus, and the First Amendment has consistently been held to trump the 14th in that area — what gain is there in protecting students for four years, except to give them the opportunity to right heartfelt, sincere, articles for Salon, a year after they graduate, about how they experienced direct prejudice or hatred for the first time and they just don't know what to do and they can't understand how this sort of thing can be allowed in the world?

  102. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:12 pm

    The main problem with untangling "hate speech" codes/laws is the fact that "hate speech" is often (but not always) intertwined with hateful (frequently criminal) action. This creates the ability of the hate speakers to simultaneously A) achieve intimidation of the targets by suggesting that action will follow speech and B) claim "it's just speech" when scrutinized by authorities.
    So, it's NOT just about "hurt feelings", it's about creation or cultivation of a climate of fear. Schools, I think, SHOULD be against THAT. Finding an effective way to do it… well, that's an ongoing exercise.

  103. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:14 pm

    @James: Punish criminal action without regard to whether or not the motivation was "I hit him because he's black" or "I hit him because he slept with my girlfriend." You don't have a right to hit someone (except in self defense, of course). End problem.

  104. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:15 pm

    @naught: I stole that from Tom Lehrher.

  105. JR  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:31 pm

    @James Pollock

    What redefining? Being whacked over the head with a stick hurts just as much if there's a piece of cardboard stapled to it or not.

    It also hurts to be stabbed with a pen, beaten with a printer, and punched by a sign-linguist. But only when it happens, and then it is assault and, therefore already not covered by the first amendment. I think I read something about peaceably assembling somewhere.

  106. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:40 pm

    "Punish criminal action without regard to whether or not the motivation was "I hit him because he's black" or "I hit him because he slept with my girlfriend." You don't have a right to hit someone (except in self defense, of course). End problem."

    End problem? How do you figure? Follow along for a greatly simplified model of the problem.
    Person A indulges in some hate speech. Person A then indulges in some violence against the target of the hate speech.
    Person B indulges in some hate speech.
    Person C indulges in some hate speech.
    Person D indulges in some hate speech. Person D also indulges in violence.
    Persons E, F, G, H, I, and J follow B and C's example.
    Person K follows A and D's example.
    Persons L-Q follow B and C's example.
    Person R… well you get the idea, but the pattern continues through person Z to person AA through ZZ, AAA to ZZZ, and so on, for a period of years, if not decades or even centuries.

    By this point, enough incidents of hate speech have been followed by incidents of violence to create the very real fear of violence after hate speech, even though most of the hate speech was not followed by violence.
    Arresting and convicting person A at this point does nothing at all about the reasonable fear created when person ZZZZ spouts off. The fear created by person ZZZZ's words might be reasonable even if person ZZZZ has no known history of violence, and even person ZZZZ does not actually intend violence, because the pattern of speech matches the pattern of violence created by people who DID fully intend violence.

    Now, I suppose that a system of justice that could immediately detect and punish those who did violence MIGHT defeat this problem. We do not yet know of such a system, this is another problem for which ongoing work proceeds.

    Note that this construct is fairly limited… it doesn't come close to encompassing all hate speech, just that hate speech intertwined with frequent violence… There's all sorts of hate speech around the topic of, say, college sports, but we don't get the type of violence associated with, say, English soccer fans.

  107. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:53 pm

    >Lizard

    Shouting racial epithets from 30 feet still has the same detrimental impact: it creates a significant hindrance to the student's right to compete fairly in an academic environment.

    On your other point, the mock lynching of a black student is not the same as hanging a political figure in effigy, so yes it does matter. The former is intimidation of the most egregious kind because invokes a real threat. The latter is political speech, albeit very provocative which is fine.

    Neither the Mao or Hitler T-shirt is hate speech because it is too ambiguous, and this is where our arguments diverge. You seem to imply that ambiguity must be resolved in favor of the offended. You may point to any number of really awful policies that seem to support that point of view. But bad implementation does not change the need for some wiser form of implementation.

    To prove the need for a line, I don't need to prove exactly where the line should be. If you look at the exhibits, it's clear that exercise of a student's 1st amendment rights has to be balanced against other students rights as defined in the 14th amendment. Based on that let me redefine what I would define as Hate Speech by redefining the 3rd prong:

    Hate speech is defined as any expression that, (1) deliberately harasses or intimidates another student or group of students on (2) the basis their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual identity or age, if (3) that speech significantly hinders the ability the student(s) to compete fairly within the academic arena.

  108. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @2:57 pm

    What redefining? Being whacked over the head with a stick hurts just as much if there's a piece of cardboard stapled to it or not.

    "It also hurts to be stabbed with a pen, beaten with a printer, and punched by a sign-linguist. But only when it happens, and then it is assault and, therefore already not covered by the first amendment. I think I read something about peaceably assembling somewhere."

    "Peaceably assembling" has a pretty important adverb in play, and raises the interesting question as to why someone would feel the need to bring a weapon to "peaceably assemble".

    I referred to "signs that are weapons", which you characterized as "redefining"… and then you go on to redefine freely.

    If the notion that the object type "sign" might contain the subset of object type "club" is one that bothers you, I can see how the concept of "signs that are weapons" gave you trouble as well. Can I tape a piece of paper on a rifle and bring it onto campus, since it's now a "sign" and not a "firearm" (firearms are prohibited on campus, and have been for at least 25 years now. That, of course, is a different can of worms)?

    Please explain to me how you are unable to "peaceably assemble" if you can't have signs that contain integral clubs (or firearms!) but can have signs that are made of, say, a sheet of cardboard. Then explain to me how being punched by a person who uses sign language relates in any way to prohibiting people from bringing weapons onto campus.

  109. princessartemis  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:00 pm

    naught, I do imagine they are being intimidated, and the people holding signs are behaving quite poorly. Are they being denied equal protection under the law? I can't tell from those pictures; I know there are similar pictures where the police are there to make sure students can get to school through the protesters, since all people present had a right to be there. That is a proper response to me. Having a mob as close as in a couple of those pictures would make me fearful of my life, and that crosses into what is already actionable, no speech codes required to keep a mob of protesters away from a few students.

    Not all rights are enumerated, so I am not saying there *isn't* a right to an education free of intimidation and harrassment. It just doesn't strike me as what I would consider a right. More like, awesome if you can get it, and educators do their best to make such an environment, but it's just not something one can demand.

    How would you react if those signs were, say, respecting a political stance rather than race? How would that make it different for you? Politicians and the like are hung in effigy all the time; would that ping your hate speech code? Or is it only if the speech is against certain predefined classes?

    Being intimidated and harassed sucks all kinds of ass. There are a good few things I choose not to do because I know it would open me up to harassment and possibly what I would feel was intimidation. But I am easily intimidated. I think society should enforce such social consequences that only the most ardent assholes engage in those behaviors, but to carve out an exception to one of the most profoundly human rights we have? No, sorry, I disagree.

    Given that the sort of protests against race don't really happen that often anymore on campuses like those you pictured, to what would you credit their decline? If it wasn't hate speech codes, was it something else? Something that might work in other situations?

  110. Waldo  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:20 pm

    "Why not? (Assuming "around campus" = public space). Why does one person get to be there, and the other doesn't, based solely on the content of their speech?"

    I disagree that this is a content based restriction. It's more of a time, space, and manner restriction. Our hypothetical stalker could post all he wants on his FB page or could hire a plane to fly a banner across the sky. The restriction is about following someone around campus and bombarding him or her with unwanted communications. That seems reasonable to me.

  111. Waldo  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:23 pm

    "Both of these things involve using the institution's property. Why shouldn't the institution get to choose how its property is used?"

    Because I'm assuming the institution is a public school. The state should not be able to pick and choose which speech to allow.

  112. mike  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:25 pm

    @Ken

    I am an entitled douche who has decided to return where I am not welcome.

    I came into your living room, sampled the food, and said "I like the chicken wings but everything else really sucked. I hope there are more chicken wings soon," and then expressed righteous indignation when asked not to return.

    Now I am back again to mewl and demonstrate that I do not understand the difference between public and private spaces.

    I now await the adulation I deserve, as I have shown you the error of your ways.

    [possibly edited somewhat by Ken]

  113. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:28 pm

    And I offer this counter-challenge: Find me an example of that kind of behavior on a college campus in the last five years, which would have been prevented by a speech code, but which was not.

    I'm going to need a flowchart and some boolean logic gates to come to the realization that you're totally setting me up by asking me to prove a negative — sneaky lawyer's trick there.

    However, here is a story about a series of events at Oberlin recently, http://www.oberlinreview.org/article/hate-speech-incidents-continue. Here is another story about jackass behavior at a college in Virginia, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/hampden-sydney-college-obama-reelection_n_2094114.html

    I'm not saying that all or any of these would fall under my rubric for hate speech. (Some of the Oberlin incidents seem the product of hysteria — the last one about someone getting out of a car.) But they do show that the type of harassment and intimidation covered by hate-speech codes has not gone away.

  114. JR  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:36 pm

    @James Pollock
    My point was that you are referring to an object by one potential function, which is something shared by nearly every other object in existence. Your description of a sign as weapon is no more valid than my description of a pen or printer as weapon, until they are used as such. Admittedly, the sign-linguist bit was reaching, but I was applying your argument to other forms of communication and those are the first three I thought of. If the ability to cause harm is enough reason to ban things, then nothing should be allowed.

    At what point are the signs banned by the college used as weapons? Is the ban only in regards to signs that are used as weapons? Or are you referring to some hypothetical sign weapon that you've created for the purpose of this debate instead of the original subject of this post?

    Never mind. Just read your hypothetical "gun with sign attached is just a sign". Guns are already banned, for other reasons I also do not agree with, but banned nonetheless; so even if you wrote on the barrel it would not be allowed for reasons that already exist. The addition of one property (sign) does not necessarily negate the presence of another (gun).

    Please tell me what it is that I am redefining and I will try to restate it for clarity.

  115. mike  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:40 pm

    @Ken

    That was very mature of you. Adios

  116. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:44 pm

    >Lizard

    Here is the response to another incident at Ole Miss, which may actually show how is some cases more speech is an effective response to hate speech thereby making your point…you're welcome.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57547048-504083/election-protest-at-ole-miss-had-racial-overtones-prompts-unity-vigil-in-response/

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey, Mike's back! Hand jobs for everyone! (Was that beyond the pale?)

  117. Waldo  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:58 pm

    @ James 2:12, "true threats" are already an exception to free speech. If speech is truly threatening violence, then it may be criminalized. Proposed hate speech codes go well beyond true threats.

  118. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @3:58 pm

    "Because I'm assuming the institution is a public school. The state should not be able to pick and choose which speech to allow."
    Have you informed the FCC? How about the National Endowment for the Arts? Or the NSF, which used to expressly forbid commercial messages on networks it funded (AKA, the "good old days" of the Internet).

  119. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:00 pm

    @Naught, regarding the incidents: You've some vandalism, which is a crime in and of itself. The content is irrelevant. Punish all vandals equally, relative to the severity of the damage done. The exact images, words, and so on that compose the vandalism is irrelevant.

    Threats of imminent bodily harm, by anyone, to anyone, regardless of motive, are likewise not protected speech.

    Signs and notes, as described, are not threats or vandalism. What's the difference between a sign left in a building, a note containing no specific threat left in someone's mailbox, and a flyer or leaflet containing a message left in the campus cafeteria?

    Nothing in the links you sent me shows anything that denies anyone their rights. Whose rights were limited or removed by this incident, and which rights?

    You have not explained:
    a)How someone's rights are violated when they are subject to offensive ideas on a college campus are NOT violated when they are exposed to the exact same ideas OFF a college campus. Or do you think that there should be hate speech laws in general, not just college codes?

    b)How any code can possibly be fairly applied when the justification for the code, which you posted as representing your own views on the matter, explicitly states that it will NOT be fairly applied? If the standard is someone's subjective feelings of harassment, fear, intimidation, etc, how can some third party then say, "Sorry, we don't think you can be frightened since you're the wrong gender, race, or religion."? Speech codes are bad because they tend to be applied unequally; having the justification for the code enshrine inequality as a virtue kind of makes it obvious what the intent is? As Dennis said to King Arthur, "Ooo, what a giveaway!"

  120. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:12 pm

    "My point was that you are referring to an object by one potential function, which is something shared by nearly every other object in existence."
    Hmmm. A cane could potentially be used as a weapon. A cane that conceals a sword is a weapon, even if the person currently holding it does not use it as one. A sign that is made of a sheet of cardboard could, under exactly the right circumstances, be used as a weapon (ow! Paper cut!). A sign that is a sheet of paper stapled to a stick is a weapon, even if the person currently holding it does not use it as one.
    Now, IF you're trying to serve the compelling state interest of reducing violence on campus, THEN you could probably ban signs that fit in that second category above, summarized as "signs that are weapons", if you made the ban content-neutral. I'm having a little trouble seeing how this keeps anyone from protesting, from expressing their opinion, from petitioning their government for a redress of grievances, or otherwise exercising their rights as free citizens.

    "Guns are already banned, for other reasons I also do not agree with, but banned nonetheless; so even if you wrote on the barrel it would not be allowed for reasons that already exist. The addition of one property (sign) does not necessarily negate the presence of another (gun)."
    Signs are already banned, for reasons I do not agree with, but banned nonetheless; so even if you wrote on the sign it would not be allowed for reasons that already exist. The addition of one property (writing) does not necessarily negate the presence of another (weapon).

  121. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:14 pm

    @naught: If the effigy was of an identifiable individual (either named, or because there's only one black student on campus, say), I think that rises to the level of a threat, and thus is not a speech issue. It would be the same if it were an effigy of the quarterback who messed up in "the big game", or an effigy of a teacher who just flunked the star football player. If it's not identifiable and is just an expression of hatred for blacks in general, sorry, it's free speech.

    The Supreme Court has ruled (in cases involving abortion clinics), that maintaining a distance where the protesters can be seen or heard, but cannot touch, shove things at, etc, the patrons of the clinic, is a reasonable restriction.

    Why is it acceptable for me to harass someone based on, say, their perceived social class (not one of your protected categories), if the effect is the same? How about their politics? Is it OK to have a protest declaring that Republicans are inherently evil? How about a rally which has, as a theme, that any support for Israel is a support for genocide? Can I hold that rally outside the campus Jewish center, so long as I make ++sure to only say "Israelis" and not "Jews"? (How about "International Bankers" or "The Hollywood Elite", both favorite euphemisms of anti-semites?) Can I hold a similar rally outside a Muslim group's meeting place, protesting the 9/11 attacks? What if I'm protesting the treatment of women in Arab countries? Is there a difference between "All muslims are rapists!" and "All frat boys are rapists!"?

    Your refusal to draw lines or define your beliefs is disingenuous at best. Indeed, the whole point of such laws is to NOT draw lines, because if lines are drawn, people know what not to do — and this deprives the lawmakers of the power they want, the power to silence speech with which they disagree while permitting speech with which they agree, utterly without regard for the excuse of "protecting people from harassment", because what is and isn't harassment is determined not by the intent of the speaker, or the reaction of the target, but by the current, and ever shifting, list of favored and disfavored groups and opinions. It is a tool to secure power for the petty and powermad, or, as they are known at Popehat, "College Administrators".

  122. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:25 pm

    @James: Those who commit violence get arrested. Those who do not commit violence, even if they advocate violence, do not. (Those who INCITE violence are also arrested, of course.)

    On the whole "climate of fear" nonsense: In the last few years, there have been plenty of social conservatives complaining that they're "afraid" to talk about how their religion condemns homosexuality, because, suddenly, a lot of people won't just sit silently and nod politely, but will instead call them what they are — hateful, narrow-minded, bigots. They are "intimidated" because they can't stand being the targets of insults and mockery. They feel "pressured" to keep silent because they don't want to be alienated or isolated.

    TOO GOD DAMN FUCKING BAD FOR THEM. BOO FUCKING HOO. I WEEP.

    And by "weep", I mean "laugh uproariously and do the schadenfreude dance".

    There's no right to be liked, no right to be approved of, no right to have your ideas accepted by others, no right to not have people laugh at you, disdain you, or condemn you. If you have the courage of your convictions, speak up and deal with the slings and arrows (and glass bottles) of outraged forumites. If you don't, keep quiet. You don't have a right to tell other people to shut up because you don't like what they have to say. (Ken, of course, has the right to kick people off his private property.) Homosexuals cannot use the power of the state to silence conservative preachers, and conservative preachers cannot use the power of the state to silence homosexuals (and the ever-growing majority that recognizes that homophobia is every bit as socially unacceptable as racism or sexism).

    A speech code that said BOTH sides have to shut up, equally, would be vile, but at least it would be egalitarian. A speech code like that Mr. Naught proposes, which would allow one side to harangue the other, but not vice-versa, entirely at the whim of some random group of academic administrators, is simply immoral on the face of it and cannot be justified. Lawful Evil>Chaotic Evil.

  123. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:31 pm

    @James:"Have you informed the FCC? How about the National Endowment for the Arts? "

    Contrary to what some might think, "allow" is not equal to "fund". And the FCC is very limited in what content it can disallow — only that found "indecent" can be restricted, and then only on the public airwaves, and then only during certain hours. (And many feel Pacifica was one of the worst decisions the SC ever handed down, the 1A equivalent of Dredd Scott or Plessy vs. Ferguson.) The FCC cannot ban speech that is racist, sexist, etc., and if they tried, the SC would slap them down like a red headed stepchild, which is a phrase which advocates violence based on hair color and birth status. Ken should probably ban me for such things. (Someone once wrote to me, "You should be ashamed of yourself.". I wrote back, "I know what all those words mean, but they don't make sense to me when arranged in that sequence. Explain." They never replied.)

  124. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:38 pm

    @Naught: One last bit, then I need to go pour plaster into molds. (www.hirstarts.com). You wrote:"But they do show that the type of harassment and intimidation covered by hate-speech codes has not gone away."

    Do you feel these incidents would not have occurred, at all, if hate speech codes were in place?

    Can you show me those who committed these incidents, if identified, were not punished when their actions violated normal laws against threats and vandalism? That they used the "speech" of their actions as a shield against the otherwise criminal behavior? (In other words, that, in the absence of a speech code, the campus COULD punish them if they'd spray painted "Go Team! Beat Perdue!" on a dorm wall, but could NOT punish them because they wrote "Die (Racial Epithet[1]), Die!"?)

    [1]Racial Epithet against some races, I mean. Other races deserve to be epithized (is that a word?), according to the justification you presented. (Thus, there is an ongoing competition to establish one's own group as the oppressed, so that one may freely criticize one's oppressors, and they cannot respond in kind.)

  125. naught_for_naught  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:42 pm

    >Lizard

    You have not explained how someone's rights are violated when they are subject to offensive ideas on a college campus are NOT violated when they are exposed to the exact same ideas OFF a college campus. Or do you think that there should be hate speech laws in general, not just college codes?

    This is a fool's errand you would have me do. You essentially demand that I prove that an apple is like an orange before you will recognize that it's in fact an apple. What is permissible in an academic environment differs significantly from what is permissible in the larger society. They are fundamentally different institutions, shaped by different values and cannot be compared in the way that you seek.

    [You have not explained] how any code can possibly be fairly applied when the justification for the code, which you posted as representing your own views on the matter, explicitly states that it will NOT be fairly applied?

    I'm not sure that I understand all of this ( "which you posted as representing your own views on the matter"), but I don't think I said that it would not be fairly applied.

    In any event, I've got to check out of this. Truthfully, my personal views are similar to yours. This was just an exercise in debate for me — I'm not really a lawyer, I just pretend to be one on Popehat.

  126. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:47 pm

    ""true threats" are already an exception to free speech."
    True. The problem is that something can be very threatening indeed without being a "true threat". Take, for example, an ad I saw recently. A guy in a ski mask is in the mini mall. The clerk says "hey, I don't want any trouble" and the guy in the ski mask says "me, either, pays, and leaves. Outside, his equally ski-masked friends tell him "you forgot to take off your mask" and they drive off in their shiny VW convertible bug.
    See, what THIS guy does is perceived as a threat because of violence perpetrated by OTHER guys. In this case, the reference was unintentional, and not any kind of threat.

    Now change things up. The scene: a liquor store. For whatever reason, I don't like liquor store clerks (doesn't have to be rational) I decide, for unknown reason, I just want to get the guy behind the counter a little riled up, so I go in wearing a mask, act all furtive, very obviously watch the other customers… and then go up and pay.
    Now I wasn't gonna rob the place… I don't even have a gun on me, officer! But it's reasonable for the clerk to fear that I am a robber, even after I've left, because he doesn't know I'm not… and the fact that I'm exercising my American freedom to dress as I feel like is kind of a side issue. If the store institutes a policy against wearing masks in the store to address the clerks' reasonable fear of robbers, this goes a little bit beyond their inherent power to counter actual robbers. Now, the more they slip into attempting to dictate a dress code on customers, the shakier the justification becomes (flip flops ARE shoes, dammit!)

    "If speech is truly threatening violence, then it may be criminalized."
    I think if you look at my post above, I was talking about the gray area between true threats and things that are reasonably perceived as threats, even if closer examination shows that no actual threat was present (particularly to those cases that fully intended to be associated with the violence, but did not intend to carry out any violence themselves.)

    "Proposed hate speech codes go well beyond true threats."
    Yes. Not disputed. You don't need a speech code to cover things that are criminal; you need a speech code to cover things that are not criminal but still objectionable for valid reasons.
    Proposed (and actual) hate speech codes go far beyond the lengths they need to go to (in some places) and not far enough (in some places)… as I said, a work in progress.

  127. JR  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:51 pm

    @James Pollock
    I'm almost certain that you are trolling me now. All you have done is misappropriate the examples I gave (poorly) and avoid answering my questions.

  128. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @4:59 pm

    "the FCC is very limited in what content it can disallow — only that found "indecent" can be restricted, and then only on the public airwaves, and then only during certain hours."
    Flatly wrong. The FCC prohibits nearly everyone from broadcasting over nearly all of the RF spectrum, at all.
    (Not sure what you mean by "public" airwaves, as the entire spectrum belongs to the public… that limitation is kind of like the FAA limiting you from flying in only the gaseous part of the atmosphere.)

    "The FCC cannot ban speech that is racist, sexist, etc., and if they tried, the SC would slap them down like a red headed stepchild"
    Sure they can. If you don't have a broadcast license, you're just as banned from saying things that are racist, sexist, etc as you are from transmitting anything else.

    As for the difference between "allow" and "fund", you need to go back upthread, since the root question is "why does the university have to allow its resources be used in a way it disapproves of". That is, to indirectly fund the speech in question. If you want to post racist things on the Internet WITHOUT using the university's computers and networks, or protest with or without signs off-campus, you're absolutely right that they don't get a say in the matter. But you're arguing that point against nobody.

  129. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @5:10 pm

    "I'm almost certain that you are trolling me now. All you have done is misappropriate the examples I gave (poorly)"
    It's not my fault you gave poor arguments that were easily countered with (more or less) your own words. At least you recognize that they were given poorly. That's the first step towards getting better.

    "avoid answering my questions."
    Are you here referring to the questions you immediately followed with the text "Never mind"?

  130. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @5:28 pm

    "On the whole "climate of fear" nonsense: In the last few years, there have been plenty of social conservatives complaining that they're "afraid" to talk about how their religion condemns homosexuality"
    Fear of social opprobation and fear of violence are not similar. Smokers, also, have recently been pushed out and marginalized just because their hobby is toxic to others and has become unpopular. When people start hanging smokers from trees, we can talk.

    "A speech code like that Mr. Naught proposes, which would allow one side to harangue the other, but not vice-versa, entirely at the whim of some random group of academic administrators"
    I can't speak for Mr. Naught, but I think the rather limited possible justification I outlined is objective enough to be implemented. Yes, it is unfairly biased in the sense that only those groups who've historically been persecuted with violence get to take advantage of it (so, both Irish Catholics AND Irish Protestants win!)

  131. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @5:38 pm

    "You have not explained how someone's rights are violated when they are subject to offensive ideas on a college campus are NOT violated when they are exposed to the exact same ideas OFF a college campus."

    That's an easy one. The university (or any other school) is only responsible for creating a learning environment ON campus.

  132. Lizard  •  Mar 13, 2013 @5:47 pm

    The FCC allocates spectrum in what is supposed to be a content-neutral fashion. I suspect that if the FCC decided that the broadcast of Christian sermons was permitted, but not Muslim sermons, it would not end well.

    You'll find that in situations where campuses collect fees from students and then uses those fees to support student groups, they are NOT allowed to discriminate based on the goals of the groups. (Indeed, one of the many ways in which speech codes are used to suppress speech is to try to permit such discrimination, so that all students must pay but only some groups are funded.)

    Also, what groups HAVEN'T historically been persecuted with violence, if you go back far enough? How do you settle a dispute between the Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics as to who is allowed to call each other names? Recentness of oppression? Degree of oppression? If none of the actual, living, people involved have been oppressed, does that matter?

    As a Jew, I would personally benefit from any standard based on a "history of oppression". My ancestors have been hated since before most modern ethnic groups ever formed a recognizable cultural identity! Irish, shmirish. My people were being exterminated when they were still Picts. So you must recognize that by arguing against such a standard, I am selflessly setting aside my own gain, as in any contest of "more oppressed than thou", we Red Sea Pedestrians win. Oppressed since freakin' ANCIENT EGYPT, baby! Top THAT! Oo yeah! Whose da most hated? WE'S da most hated! Uh-huh! (Imagine a morbidly obese middle aged Jew trying to do a typical football "victory dance", with hip thrusts, here. You're welcome.)

    In any event, the standard proposed by Mr. Naught does not mention "violence", just "harassment and intimidation", which smokers, homophobes, and many others are subject to. His argument is that emotional distress is sufficient to make the 14th Amendment kill the 1st and take its stuff. If you think "fear of violence" is the factor, not mere "intimidation", you have a slightly stronger case, as there is no right to threaten someone with violence — but as others have noted, this is already illegal, and there's no need for a speech code to prosecute it.

    Both a small subset of feminists, and fundamentalists, claim that pornography should not be protected because it causes "violence against women", using the exact same logic you use — the presence of porn creates a "toxic culture" in which people are more inclined to act violently against women. This is, of course, as much utter and fetid bullcrap as the idea that comic books, pinball, or video games cause violence, but it's advanced seriously by those on both sides of Megatron's Inquisition[1], the stupid and the deceitful. It seems to conform to your standard, however. What say you?

    [1]Megatron at one point asked Starscream, "Are you lying or just stupid?" I find that, when confronted with opinions of mind-bogglingly self-evident wrongness, that those who put forth such opinions are either as moronic as their opinions, or know full well how wrong they are but also know there's plenty of hay to be made by advancing them, following Barnum's Dictum.

  133. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:16 pm

    "The FCC allocates spectrum in what is supposed to be a content-neutral fashion."
    It does no such thing. It allocates spectrum based on the services to be offered in the spectrum. And anyway, you're dancing around the point, which is that the FCC requires licenses for broadcasting, and does not issue licenses to all comers. Finally, in issuing licenses, the FCC is expressly required to consider the public interest, necessity, and convenience; licenses are NOT based on content-neutral criteria.

    "You'll find that in situations where campuses collect fees from students and then uses those fees to support student groups, they are NOT allowed to discriminate based on the goals of the groups."
    In my experience, they filtered unpopular causes by requiring a minimum number of people to sign a petition before a group was eligible for student group funds. YMMV.

    "Also, what groups HAVEN'T historically been persecuted with violence, if you go back far enough?"
    Rich white guys seem to do all right in every era.
    But this is an evasive point, as the question is not "has this group been subjected to violence ever" but "is this group being subjected to violence, now, and if so, for how long?"

    "How do you settle a dispute between the Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics as to who is allowed to call each other names?"
    I just answered that question half an hour ago. Both were (and still are) subjected to violence because of their group membership, so both would get protection. Think about it… doesn't it make sense, where you have two groups that have such a dislike for each other, that you tell BOTH sides to stop talking smack about the other?

    "If none of the actual, living, people involved have been oppressed, does that matter?"
    See above.

    "As a Jew, I would personally benefit from any standard based on a "history of oppression"."
    Would you? Seems to me that Pharaoh's descendants might have a bone or two to pick about that thing with the plagues. At least, if we used your version, where any violence at any point in time justifies limits today.

    "My ancestors have been hated since before most modern ethnic groups ever formed a recognizable cultural identity!"
    Tell it to the Samaritans. or the Hamites. You guys just have better records.

    "In any event, the standard proposed by Mr. Naught does not mention "violence""
    Mine did.

    "If you think "fear of violence" is the factor, not mere "intimidation", you have a slightly stronger case, as there is no right to threaten someone with violence — but as others have noted, this is already illegal, and there's no need for a speech code to prosecute it."
    You need to pick out what I actually said, because I think I laid out a pretty good case that there is a need for a speech code that covers something not already illegal… because a reasonable fear of violence can be created through the combined actions of people who do do criminal things and people who do not do criminal things but share their rhetoric. UNreasonable fear need not be addressed by limiting the actions of others, but reasonable fear can justify some limitations. It'd be a tricky line to walk, and I'm not interested in setting out where the line should be… but I don't instantly reject it.

    "Both a small subset of feminists, and fundamentalists, claim that pornography should not be protected because it causes "violence against women", using the exact same logic you use — the presence of porn creates a "toxic culture" in which people are more inclined to act violently against women."
    This isn't anything at all like the logic I use.
    The logic I use goes like this. There is a present and historical fear of violence (including rape) on college campuses. This justifies the college from taking actions to reduce the likelihood of rape on campus… safewalk, saferide, security stations, excluding men from the women's dorms after hours, and so on. It also might extend, if there are any, to prohibiting actions that increase the reasonable fear of rape without being actually criminally cognizable.
    There are some people who think pornography creates a likelihood of violence against women. OK. There are some people who think Bigfoot exists… doesn't justify spending money on Bigfoot traps to prevent Bigfoot attacks on campus. DEMONSTRATE a history of violence, intertwined with hate speech, THEN ask for limitations on hate speech intertwined with that violence. Let's suppose they succeed, and convince the authorities that porn is hate speech and it is intertwined with violence against women. What result? The hate speech code says that you can't publicly display (or, I suppose, promote) pornography on campus. Bummer. We'll have to spray-paint some bikinis on the nude statues in the quad, and cancel Art 302, the figure-drawing class.

  134. James Pollock  •  Mar 13, 2013 @7:28 pm

    Good lord. That's way too much text.