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Censorship Communications Education Social Networks

National Coalition Calls for Campus Censorship of "Offensive" Speech (washingtonpost.com) 585

schwit1 writes with this opinion piece from Eugene Volokh, who teaches free speech law at UCLA School of Law, about the push to ban "offensive" speech and censor websites on campus. He writes: "A large coalition of advocacy groups has asked the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to pressure colleges to (1) punish students for their speech and (2) block student access to certain Web sites — especially sites such as Yik Yak, which allow students to anonymously post their views..... Yet another example of today's Anti-Free Speech Movement for American universities — unfortunately, one that fits well into the Education Department's attitudes. Fortunately, courts have firmly rejected these kinds of calls to restrict college student speech, though the OCR and the college administrations it pressures can get away with a lot of restrictions until the lawsuits are actually brought."
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National Coalition Calls for Campus Censorship of "Offensive" Speech

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  • Censoring speech... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:17PM (#50821397)

    ... how very European of them.

    • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:19PM (#50821409)

      ... how very European of them.

      Next thing you know the USA will have anti-holocaust denial laws (for the Nazi holocaust) and anti-holocaust assertion laws (for the Native American holocaust).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Alypius ( 3606369 )
        Why not? There are already folks who get all misty when they talk of censoring/criminalizing global warming skeptics.
      • Next thing you know the USA will have anti-holocaust denial laws (for the Nazi holocaust) and anti-holocaust assertion laws (for the Native American holocaust).

        Oh, we have no problem asserting that the Spanish and the British empires committed genocide against Native Americans. Why would we be shy about that?

        • by dwye ( 1127395 )

          European diseases killed the vast majority of the Indians, not the Europeans themselves. Cortez would have died a nasty death if the Aztecs hadn't started dying of the diseases that the Spaniards had inadvertently brought with them; it is much easier attacking warriors already dying than attacking them when hale and healthy. Likewise when the Virginia and New England colonies settled the land was almost empty from plagues that had hit five and ten years earlier from no apparent sources.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:19PM (#50821405) Journal

    STFU. What was that? Rights. Well...

  • Liberals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:22PM (#50821427)

    Liberals are all about freedom, expression, tolerance, etc. until you do or say something that they don't like.
    Tolerance and acceptance only apply to those they tolerate and accept. Everyone else gets branded a bigot hate monger, racist, misogynist, etc. the instant they exercise their own right to speak their mind or utter any un-PC truths. This behavior by liberals, of course, is the very definition of bigotry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alypius ( 3606369 )
      Curious how the same folks who want to ban anonymous speech are the same folks who show up for demonstrations in Guy Fawkes masks.
      • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:47PM (#50821579)

        I wish there was a party for me.

        I don't want to see people down trodden by the system living on the streets with no food shelter or medical care. In this country of ours there should be plenty for everyone to have those basic needs met. (For those especially that are truly unable to meet those needs.)

        But the freedoms of speech, religion(and from religion), and arms are in our god damned constitution. You don't fuck with that shit, quit trying to make exceptions to them. I also want to see people that freeload off the system to have to do community work. At that point welfare becomes wages. It would be nice if we had a new civilian conservation corp. We have bridges, roads, national parks, etc that need attention and that could be provided by those unable to find otherwise gainful employment.

        I also wish both parties would quit fucking with the right to be free from warantless searches and seizures. Do any of our politicians even know what is in the bill of rights? It seems not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ganjadude ( 952775 )
          libertarian. thats what you describe
        • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @09:22PM (#50821801)

          I wish there was a party for me.

          We tried holding it yesterday, but you called the cops when we got a bit noisy while setting it up. We tried.

          I also wish both parties would quit fucking with the right to be free from warantless searches and seizures. Do any of our politicians even know what is in the bill of rights? It seems not.

          Yes, it seems not, for the fourth amendment does not contain a prohibition against warrantless searches and seizures, but against unreasonable searches and seizures. It also does not define "reasonable" to mean "based upon a warrant", because that would be patently absurd. For example, if you point a gun at a cop, your gun will be seized and you will be searched prior to being put in jail. Neither requires a warrant (nor should they) but bother are reasonable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Beeftopia ( 1846720 )

      As William F. Buckley famously said [wikiquote.org], "Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view."

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      This is the same fake outrage we saw when anti-vaxers became a news item. Most of those awful "Liberals" turned out to be libertarians asserting their "sovereign individual" fantasy.

      OTOH, if you want an environment of "intellectual freedom" where people are routinely attacked because of their backgrounds instead of the content of their character, then I can't think of a more deserving group to tar-and-feather than the Politically Incorrect crowd. They are defining a false kind of freedom without respect or

      • Re:Liberals (Score:4, Informative)

        by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @09:14PM (#50821759)

        They are defining a false kind of freedom without respect or responsibility.

        Two buzzwords often used in the arguments in favor of squelching speech that isn't "respectful" or "responsible".

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        They are defining a false kind of freedom without respect or responsibility.

        "I'm all for free speech, just not hate speech" - said every opponent of free speech ever. Support the right to deeply offensive, hateful speech, or accept that you do not support free speech.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rockoon ( 1252108 )

      Liberals are all about freedom, expression, tolerance, etc. until you do or say something that they don't like.

      Democrats are Opposite People. Whatever they are saying is always the opposite of what they actually do in practice. Hell, look at what they were saying about health insurance and then look at what they did to health insurance. 100% opposite. Then look at who they blame for what they did to health insurance and how the House and Senate votes actually went. 100% opposite.

      Its true for every single topic. These are the least generous of the two parties complaining about how selfish the other party is. They

      • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @09:55PM (#50822009)

        Democrats are Opposite People. Whatever they are saying is always the opposite of what they actually do in practice.

        Sort of like how Republicans for smaller government?

        You can bash democrats all you want. They probably deserve it. What I can;t stand is the implication that republicans are somehow better. And this goes for republican bashing as well.

        If you think either side of the republicrat party is any good, you need to have your head examined.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rockoon ( 1252108 )

          What I can;t stand is the implication that republicans are somehow better.

          There was no such implication, therefore we know something about you.

      • Liberals are all about freedom, expression, tolerance, etc. until you do or say something that they don't like.

        Democrats are Opposite People.

        We were talking about liberals. Why did you bring up Democrats? Most of them aren't liberals, they are left-ish centrists, just like Republicans are right-ish centrists. We don't permit people with strong political views to speak in this country, at least, not loudly enough to be considered a credible presidential candidate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:24PM (#50821435)

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/
    goes into more details...

  • Oh sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:24PM (#50821439)

    This is the worst possible thing to do, not just for the basic liberties. The Atlantic [theatlantic.com] published an article explaining why.

    We can't cocoon people and then let them out into the world. This is elementary-school treatment at a University Level.

    • Yes, this is not a political phenomena going on here, but more of a continuation of trying to build a perfectly sheltered environment for children. At some point the offspring will encounter opposing view points, perhaps discover that evil exists in the world. They must be ready at that point to have a rational discussion. Instead we're teaching the offspring to either shut out the offense or to attack it.

      And that is indeed what the modern political landscape looks like: with many people shutting themsel

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by chipschap ( 1444407 )

        At some point the offspring will encounter opposing view points, perhaps discover that evil exists in the world.

        They are being taught that evil exists in the world, in the form of straight white males.

  • Free Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:24PM (#50821443)

    Free speech only means anything if it's the freedom to say things that are dangerous or unpopular.
    It shouldn't mean the freedom to only say what is benign, acceptable, trivial, or politically correct.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:26PM (#50821451)

    During the 1960s college and university campuses were the birth places of free speech for students. Times have certainly changed with students demanding censorship.

    • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:46PM (#50821565) Homepage Journal

      You know, I was just struck with how like vaccination this whole thing is - these students grew up in a much more 'free speech' era than, say, the 1960s. As such, they aren't used to seeing the harm that anti-free speech laws and regulations cause.

      Much like anti-vaxxors today who feel free to refuse vaccination because they haven't experienced the outbreaks and plagues that happened in history.

      I mean, I understand because I'm old enough to have a grandfather who was permanently affected by polio. So I grew up with that. But those much younger than me?

  • by laurencetux ( 841046 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:28PM (#50821455)

    political correctness offends me.

  • Fight the hate not the speech.
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:42PM (#50821533)

    OMG, if we let people say whatever they want, they might say something that conflicts with my worldview and gives me a boo-boo or a tummyache.

    Wah Wah Wah!

    SJWs, please help protect me from hearing anything I don't like!!

  • Now wait, I'm not saying don't get offended, you can go ahead and do that and it's even reasonable. But the WP article is inventive, inflammatory bullshit, shock amazement. For instance, this little snark-shit:

    âoeinitiat[e] campus disciplinary proceedings against individuals engaging in online harassmentâ â" including, apparently, for saying things such as âoe[African-Americansâ(TM)] entire culture just isnâ(TM)t conducive to a life of successâ

    In fact, the quote "[Africa

    • You use windows, don't you?
    • In fact, the quote "[African-AmericansÃ(TM)] entire culture just isnÃ(TM)t conducive to a life of success"

      I get offended by people who try to claim trademarks on phrases like "African-AmericansÃ".

    • by Howitzer86 ( 964585 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @10:07PM (#50822069)
      I don't like it, but honestly I feel like they should be able to say what they want so long as they don't get in my face about it. Most people are jerks anyway, so it makes sense that Yik Yak would be used to release all that pent up jerk-steam anonymously. Being a gentlemen in public, but a racist backwoods hick on your own time? That's fine by me. You can even have your little pseudo-intellectual conversations about it on Storm Front, call yourself a European American, and a "Paleo-conservative". I don't care. I'll defend your right to be a jerk and to have your online discourse come back to haunt you when you fail to be anonymous about it one day.
  • It's as if all progress in the humanities has ended by fiat.

  • What I think is the dumbest aspect of this is the complete cluelessness about consequences. It's all fun and games until someone else's jack booted thugs are in power and they instead of your are deciding which websites to block and which college-based political opponents to punish. Why push so hard for something that is sure to blowback on you?

    I suppose though that we could just ban these idiots from college campuses - for their own protection, of course.
  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @08:57PM (#50821643)

    Upon considering an idea, the first question ought not to be, "Is it offensive?" but rather, "Is it true?"

  • What a disgrace.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @09:13PM (#50821751) Homepage Journal

    Thats the true power, those who get to make the list of "Offensive" things to ban/censor. Might be the crazy reason we have a first amendment, and a 2nd to make sure we keep it.

  • If you read the cited document [chronicle.com] (I know, not a popular thing to do around here) you can see the "coalition" at the end of the document. Notably absent from here is any university or any organization authorized to speak on behalf of one. Their list is as follows:

    Feminist Majority Foundation
    Advocates for Youth
    American Association of University Women
    Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
    Black Womenâ€(TM)s Blueprint
    Black Womenâ€(TM)s Health Imperative
    Center for Partnership Studies
    Center for Women Policy Studies
    Champion Women
    Clearinghouse on Womenâ€(TM)s Issues
    Digital Sisters/Sistas
    End Rape on Campus
    GLSEN
    Hollaback!
    Human Rights Campaign
    Institute for Science and Human Values
    Jewish Women International
    Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
    Legal Momentum
    Media Equity Collaborative
    Muslim Advocates
    National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
    National Black Justice Coalition
    National Center for Lesbian Rights
    National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    National Council of Jewish Women
    National Council of Womenâ€(TM)s Organizations
    National Disability Rights Network
    National Domestic Violence Hotline
    National LGBTQ Taskforce
    National Organization for Women
    National Womenâ€(TM)s Law Center
    SPARK Movement
    SurvJustice
    The Andrew Goodman Foundation
    Turning Anger into Change
    UltraViolet
    WMC Speech Project
    Womenâ€(TM)s Media Center
    YWCA USA

    Local Organizations
    Atlanta Women for Equality
    Collective Action for Safe Spaces
    DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    DC Rape Crisis Center
    Democratic Womenâ€(TM)s Club of Northeast Broward
    Empowerment Center â€" Maryland
    Lincoln County Oregon Democratic Central Committee
    National Organization for Women â€" Akron Area, Ohio Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Boulder, Colorado Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Brevard, Florida Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Central Oregon Coast Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Florida Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Greater Orlando, Florida Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Indiana Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Maryland Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Middlesex County, New Jersey Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Ni-Ta-Nee, Pennsylvania Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Oregon Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Palm Beach County, Florida Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Pennsylvania Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Rhode Island Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Shore Area, New Jersey Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Tacoma, Washington Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Tampa, Florida Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Thurston County, Washington Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Virginia Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Washington Chapter
    National Organization for Women â€" Washington, DC Chapter
    Network for Victim Recovery of D.C.
    PFLAG Oregon Central Coast
    Womenâ€(TM)s Production Network (Florida)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Noticeably missing from that list are some of the bigger civil rights organizations like NAACP. It looks like mostly feminist SJWs tilting at windmills again.
  • I remember.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2015 @09:41PM (#50821919)

    I remember when it was the religious right that was trying to impose its values on society using the government (eg: abortion rights). The left was positioning itself as supporting the live and let live attitude, especially concerning sex. Now, today's left is all about campus 'rape tribunals' that model soviet show trials and pushes out tons of fear-mongering propaganda to create neurotic behavior in young people (mostly men) about sex. Now this 'coalition'... I guess like the neocons censored for jesus, the New Left censors for marx. Yay for big statists!

    How about we just let individuals speak their minds and deal with the fact that not everyone will agree? That is a required cornerstone of learning, right? Free thought? Free expression that includes criticism? What a bunch of pissant crybabies this society's become.

    • To be fair, this isn't so much the "left" as much as "progressives". Even the left has taken to calling them the regressive left, and are just as much disgusted by the nannyism.

      And if we take a look back, these elements were always a part of the left (mostly from feminist that marched in lockstep with the religious right often enough), it's just they are at the forefront now, in many respects using the left as cover for their authoritarian agenda. Authoritarianism takes many forms.

      And regardless, demonizing

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:10AM (#50822655)
    Nothing to see here - budding student political types are always looking for causes to make noise about and be noticed. Some causes are valid, some just look like they are an easy option. I suspect this is the latter. Saying "be nice to each other" is so much easier than building a child care centre, sorting out transport hassles for students with the local government, or doing something for depressed students.
  • by Spinalcold ( 955025 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @04:49AM (#50823335)
    Best professor I had, at the beginning of a History of Science course, said that some of us will be offended in his class, in fact, he HOPED we would be offended by something or he didn't do his job correctly. He stressed that university is for free thought and that even offensive thoughts should be talked about and debated, We are there to have our ideas and sensibilities challenged by a whole world of thoughts, we are not supposed to be indoctrinated in any one school of thought. Universities are not 'safe havens' they are a place that gathers ALL knowledge, no matter the politics or religions of the people there.

    The entire course came back to this point over and over, showing that through history science and politics are entwined but how universities were places where offensive ideas had a way of cutting through that. Some ideas were eventually discarded, others were able to thrive. His entire last 3 hour lecture was about offensive ideas and how they should be protected in universities. Wonderful course and I hope lots more people take his course, though it's a very small class of 12 to foster discussion better.
  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:16PM (#50825867) Homepage
    I know plenty of Republicans and Libertarians that despise the extremism of the Tea Party. The Tea Party makes them look like idiots.

    The progressive/liberal side of the spectrum has their own "Tea Party" and they are frequently referred to as "SJWs" or "Social Justice Warriors". They need a better name, though, because there are genuine social justice "warriors" that do good-- you know, like fighting against gerrymandering and police brutality. The "SJWs" that mess it all up are those that attempt to change the meanings of words. Examples:

    Violence: Violence used to mean action that caused physical harm. Today, SJWs (the bad ones) are trying to change the common vocabulary so that speech that makes someone uncomfortable can be described as "violence".

    Triggering: Triggering is a medical term regarding the genuine overwhelming emotions and memories that come flooding to one's forethought after being reminded of an extremely traumatic experience. Today, SJWs (the bad ones) are attempting to make everything a potential "trigger" for someone because it reminds them of something bad. It's not the same.

    Racism: This one's pretty bad. Racism has a very specific definition. It's the belief that one race is better than another. However, SJWs (the bad ones) are attributing racism to just about anything that touches the topic of race, ethnicity, culture, etc. People accuse things without the capability of having beliefs of racism ("Is science racist?").

    The examples go on and on... these (bad) SJWs are the Tea Party of the left. They tear down anyone who isn't as extreme as they are. But here's the rub-- since they fight for things that are generally accepted as good (reducing harm, protecting people, etc.), you just can't come out as against them or their tactics. And THAT is why schools are bending over backwards to not fight them. Schools are horrifically liability averse and they will almost always give in to the extremists on their side(s) rather than fight them and risk being slandered as rape-cultured and racist organizations.

Mathematics deals exclusively with the relations of concepts to each other without consideration of their relation to experience. -- Albert Einstein

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