A Minnesota university wants to not only restrict offensive
speech but even speech that is loud or boisterous and may raise
alarm. This is an abuse of the First Amendment.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has announced
that the organization's Speech Code of the Month focus has been
directed on Bemidji State because of its code that prohibits
language that might offend others. Robert Shibley of F.I.R.E. explains
the problem with that policy.
"The fact that nobody can easily determine what is offensive
conduct is at the heart of the problem with this code," he tells
OneNewsNow. "Speech and expression cannot be prohibited simply
because others find it offensive."
Shibley says furthermore that students should not be treated any
differently than those who are not in school.
"Those of us who are outside of college, we don't have any
protection for our feelings from what people on the street or on
the television might say," he points out. "The same should go for
university students, and in fact is even more important for them in
many ways because they are supposed to be part of a marketplace of
ideas where they can decide how they believe and what they
The Supreme Court has ruled that "the mere dissemination of
ideas - no matter how offensive to good taste - on a state
university campus may not be shut off in the name alone of
'conventions of decency.' " This ruling is cited in Papish v.
Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, 410 U.S.