Friday, June 11, 2004

Positive statements positively unconstitutional 

While we seem to be having a lull in the speech code debate at SCSU -- and trust me, 'tis only a respite -- the rubes running SUNY Brockport have cooked up a jim dandy. FIRE is suing on behalf of two College Republicans, Newsday reports:
The suit was filed June 3 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on behalf of students Patricia Simpson and Robert Wojick, members of the Brockport College Republicans.

The suit claims that faculty members twice deemed materials distributed by the student group as offensive. A pamphlet showing photographs of outspoken liberal celebrities saying, "Bring Back the Blacklist," drew an angry response from a faculty member who demanded it be removed from the group's informational table, the lawsuit said.

Another faculty member ordered that the group be denied funding or shut down after reading a flier encouraging the college community to help "End Liberal Indoctrination on Campus," the lawsuit said.
As if that was not bad enough, Brockport, a public institution, is trying to tell students what to say to promote "a better community". Amazingly, this policy appears to have been in place for years.

Eugene Volokh calls it "patently unconstitutional". Commenters at Critical Mass are trying to figure out why this is a pervasive pattern on American university campuses.

UPDATE: Will Baude asks "Can a joke have the purpose or effect of stereotyping?"?