Monday, February 26, 2018

New York Times Validates Our Prediction About the 1st Amendment & Colleges

We try to stay away from politics but we also look at media issues, which includes the First Amendment and free speech and a free press.

With that in mind, in 2017, we predicted:
The first amendment becomes a battle-ground issue. Between campus culture wars(regarding who can speak on campus and who can disrupt those who try to speak on campus),varying definitions of hate speech and the more-open expression of bigotry, the fight to protect free speech will generate coverage in 2018. Part of the challenge is a polarize climate is finding the balance between allowing free expression and preventing bigoted express.
And in February 2018, we saw this New York Times' article, "Republicans Stuff Education Bill With Conservative Social Agenda," which includes pullout text that describes a "590-page higher education bill working its way through Congress" as "a wish list for those who say their First Amendment rights are being trampled."

And addressing those concerns will lead to others feeling that their First Amendment rights are being abridged. And the bill specifically addresses "universities where controversial, or sometimes merely conservative, speakers have sought to appear. Schools have denied speaking slots or put restrictions on them after some protests against the speakers have become unruly." The bill would force colleges to publicly declare their speech policies, so if they tried to change the rules ad hoc, depending on who was speaking, they would be vulnerable to free-speech lawsuits."

It's worth reading the article about how this is playing out. The article provides some details that suggest that the bill does not equalize things but, instead, tilts things in the other direction. In other words, it seems the bill will continue to use of the First Amendment as a battle-ground issue. And that, we think, is a mistake. 

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