An Alabama university is being recognized for its "Speech Code
of the Month" regarding a policy that is too restrictive to even be
enforced, while another school has backed away from its confining
Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
(FIRE) says Troy University's policy on preventing harassment and
discrimination prohibits a staggering amount of
constitutionally-protected speech. His organization, which aims to
defend and sustain individual rights at America's colleges and
universities, has sent a letter of concern to school
"Troy says that they ban 'any comments or conduct consisting of
words or actions that are unwelcome or offensive to a person in
relation to sex, race, age, religion, national origin, color,' etc.
-- a long list of characteristics," Shibley details. "The problem
with that is that it bans a lot of what is very normal political
speech in the United States."
Though he is unaware of any specific problems or incidents this
policy has brought about, FIRE's senior vice president says the
code is still problematic.
"Part of the problem with these policies is that even when there
is no problem on campus that pops up, they chill student speech
about these important issues," he explains. "Students in college
are adults. They're supposed to be participating in the political
process, and this sort of policy only makes that harder rather than
Shibley adds that because Troy is a public university, it is bound
to uphold the students' First Amendment rights. So far, the
Foundation has not received a response from Troy.
But an Iowa community college has relented and revised its
unconstitutional student speech code, thanks to a lawsuit filed by
the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of a
ADF attorney David Hacker says Des Moines Area
Community College (DMACC) was barring student Jacob Dagel from
freely handing out flyers protesting the use of college funds to
subsidize a governor's lesbian, "gay," bisexual and transgender
"They required student to get permission ten days in advance of
doing anything on campus, and then once they got that permission,
they could only speak or hand out flyers or papers to their peers
if they sat at a table in the student center," Hacker details.
"It's a really restrictive policy and one that was clearly
But the attorney asserts that this is not an isolated incident; it
is part of a nationwide epidemic.
"These are policies that have been written more recently with an
eye towards creating some sort of campus utopia, and unfortunately,
that never shapes out well for Christians and conservatives on
campus," Hacker laments. "They end up having their rights
restricted, while everyone else can speak freely and without much
DMACC agreed to a permanent injunction against its bad speech
policies while the settlement in the case was finalized.