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Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Speechless



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From NRO’s Window on the Week:

We have long lamented that, while our nation’s campuses are supposed to be bastions of free inquiry and open debate, their postmodern stewards have transformed them into hotbeds of political correctness and petty authoritarianism. A recent study reveals just how bad the problem is: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reported this week that an overwhelming majority of colleges and universities (including 73 percent of public schools) ban speech that is protected under the First Amendment. Disguised as “harassment policies” and “sensitivity guidelines,” campus speech codes routinely ban “offensiveness,” “disrespect,” and “inappropriate comments.” Of course, the vagueness and subjectivity of these prohibitions allows them to be selectively applied against viewpoints that contravene the prevailing orthodoxies of the academy. At public universities, these speech codes may be unconstitutional. At private schools, they often contradict mission statements and advertisements that promise to uphold free expression. So the sad irony remains: If you want to have an uninhibited conversation about a controversial topic today, you’d better avoid college campuses.



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