Phi Beta Cons

Students Have First Amendment Rights; They’re Not Well Protected

Rampant political correctness on college and university campuses often collides with the First Amendment rights of students — and PC often wins. Free speech and associational rights have been repeatedly attacked by school administrators on the grounds of “discrimination” or “insensitivity.”

In North Carolina, legislation has been proposed that would keep administrators at public universities from interfering with the First Amendment rights of students. No longer, for example, could a state university have a policy that prohibits any student group from doing anything that might impair the “freedom of thought and choice” of others through “mental stress.” (That vague rule is found at East Carolina University.) The UNC administration, however, is trying to head off the legislation.

In a recent piece published in the Raleigh News & Observer, the Pope Center’s Jenna Robinson and Tami Fitzgerald of the NC Values Coalition write about the dispute here in North Carolina and point out that Ohio has already enacted such legislation.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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