Saturday, November 19, 2011

Regulating Free Speech

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi makes a statement about the horrifying attack on the peaceably assembled students at her university.
“We take this responsibility seriously,” Katehi wrote. “We are accountable for what occurs on our campus. Campus policies generously support free speech, but do included limited time, place and manner regulations to protect health, safety and the ability of students, staff and faculty to accomplish the university mission.”
This is so wrong on so many levels. Limiting free speech to "time and manner regulations" means it's not free. Restriciting dissent to only specific zones and only at specific times is not a generous policy. It's a subversion of free expression. The university must of course be concerned for the safety of all of its students and faculty, but it's impossible to see how the pitching of a few tents endangered anyone.

This didn't just happen this week, or this year. There's been a growing trend on campuses nationwide, especially since 9/11, to cage free expression in narrow, and often literally caged in, free speech zones. Absent a clear and present threat to bodily safety, this seems to me to be a direct violation of not only the spirit, but also the letter of long standing law.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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