College’s email censorship policy unconstitutional

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Bob Kellogg (

Despite being warned last year by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a New York university still has done nothing to remedy their unconstitutional speech policies.

Syracuse University was named by F.I.R.E. as September's Speech Code of the Month. Their policy prohibits students from using school computers to send "sexually, ethnically, racially, or religiously offensive messages." Robert Shibley of F.I.R.E. explains why that's a problem.


“While all of those things sound unpleasant, the problem is what is offensive to one person might simply be an expression of someone’s most sacred beliefs to another person, especially when you’re dealing with something that would be ‘religiously offensive,’” he tells OneNewsNow.

He says Syracuse has been a perennial offender of free speech even though it promises students "freedom of discussion." 

“It punished a student for a remark about racism on Facebook where he was criticizing racism,” he says. “It went after a student for a satirical blog about law school. And now its been named Speech Code of the month because of this policy restricting electronic communications in a way that, frankly, students are probably violating left and right.” 

Shibley says all too often universities and colleges institute these unconstitutional speech policies believing that no one will hold them accountable.

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