Tag Archives: free speech

So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, 04/20/17

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

“Professor [Geoffrey R.] Stone is our guest on today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. Fittingly, we met in New York City to discuss the portions of ‘Sex and the Constitution’ dealing with the regulation of sexual expression. It was, after all, in New York City where the YMCA and Anthony Comstock began their campaigns in the 1800s to root out what they deemed obscene, sexually explicit material. During our conversation, Stone explains how ‘obscenity’ came to be regulated in America and why its legal definition constantly shifts. We also explore other First Amendment issues surrounding sexual expression, including nude dancing and the public funding of art with sexual themes.” [various formats] (04/20/17)


A message from FIRE’s president: UC Berkeley and the state of free speech on campus

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Greg Lukianoff

“When the riots on Feb. 1 ended a planned speech by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley, we condemned the violence. However, we tried to be cautious in our statements about the actions of the Berkeley administration, as it seemed plausible that the campus police were simply overwhelmed by the number of protesters and the intensity and scale of the violence. But in the weeks following the incident, Berkeley appears to have done nothing to prevent events like the Feb. 1 riots from happening again. Since that time, the Berkeley College Republicans’ property has been destroyed, the group cancelled a speech by conservative activist and Berkeley alumnus David Horowitz after the administration threw up numerous roadblocks, and now it has been told that conservative commentator Ann Coulter may not speak as planned due to the danger posed by potentially violent protesters. This is a chilling and dangerous precedent. The Berkeley administration is incentivizing anyone who doesn’t want a particular speaker to be heard to threaten (or even engage in) acts of violence. This all but guarantees that speakers who are controversial on a particular campus will be silenced, and teaches a generation of students that resorting to violence will be rewarded.” (04/20/17)


CA: UC Berkeley administration, desperate to appease Antifa jackboots, cancels Coulter harangue

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Next week’s scheduled speech by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter at UC Berkeley is off — for now — because campus officials say they won’t be able to protect participants from rioting if it should happen. ‘We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter,’ vice chancellors Scott Biddy and Stephen Sutton emailed the student groups co-hosting the event — the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA — Tuesday evening. The organizers are not giving up, saying the university’s action amounts to unconstitutional prior restraint.” (04/19/17)


Words which by their very utterance inflict injury

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

“College students seeking to suppress or punish speech in their communities are the latest iteration of a longer tradition in American life than many of their critics acknowledge. That’s true even narrowing our backward gaze to Supreme Court cases from the last century. During World War II, for instance, the case of Chaplinsky vs. State of New Hampshire considered whether the municipality of Rochester had, by arresting Walter Chaplinsky, a Jehovah’s Witness, for his speech, violated his rights. … ‘There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which has never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem,’ the majority opinion stated. ‘These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words — those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.'” (04/19/17)


Pompeo, targeting WikiLeaks, explicitly threatens speech and press freedoms

Source: The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

“In February, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the ‘enemy of the people,’ the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech he delivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.” (04/14/17)


Should the feds “unmask” anonymous political speech?

Source: Reason
by A Barton Hinkle

“Last week the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection division demanded that Twitter reveal the identity of the person behind an account that has been criticizing the Trump administration. The agency had no authority to issue such a demand, and quickly retracted it. But you could not have scripted a better incident to confirm the worst fears of Trump administration critics about its neo-fascist tendencies.” (04/12/17)


Claremont McKenna students, silencing Heather Mac Donald is the stupidest way to battle The War on Cops

Source: Reason
by Robby Soave

“Once again, a group of protesters — many of them students — decided to prevent a contrary speaker from addressing campus. Once again, they largely succeeded, harassing a student-journalist in the process. Once again, the college administration — at Claremont McKenna, this time — condemned their illiberalism but could do nothing, or would do nothing, to stop them. And once again, a speaker whose views are anathema to college students but well-represented among the broader American public left campus essentially unchallenged, because the mob denied curious audience members the opportunity to hear her out. The madness is not confined to Middlebury. This time, the target was Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute scholar and author of the 2016 book The War on Cops.” (04/10/17)


Bias Response Teams: Campus censorship at its most sinister

Source: spiked
by Tom Slater

“When you criticise the parlous state of free speech on campus these days, you’re often called hysterical. Disinviting speakers, banning microaggressions and clamping down on culturally appropriative parties is small fry, say the campus censors. ‘We’re not tyrants — go and criticise Turkey.’ This is just a ploy, of course — an attempt to shift the spotlight and avoid having to justify the not only censorious but patently unhinged behaviour of campus officials of late. But it’s also a crap one. Because with every year that passes, university administrations cook up more and more GDR-lite ways to cleanse campuses of disagreeable speech. Just take Bias Response Teams (BRTs).” (04/07/17)


So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, 04/06/17

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

“From Buckley v. Valeo (1976) to Citizens United v. FEC (2010), legal disputes over the constitutionality of campaign finance laws have captured the public’s attention for decades. At the heart of the debate is a question of whether money donated to political candidates or spent influencing elections is speech protected by the First Amendment. And, if it is, are there countervailing interests outweighing those core First Amendment concerns? Even within the free speech community, the debate can be contentious. But for our guest [Sam Gedge] on today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, the issue is straightforward: Money spent in support of a political message is speech.” [Flash audio or MP3] (04/06/17)


Harvard is no friend of free speech

Source: Students For Liberty
by Natalie Le

“Students’ free speech rights are constantly suppressed across American college campuses. Recently, a student sued Los Angeles Pierce College after he was prohibited from passing out pocket constitutions outside the college’s ‘free speech zone,’ which confines speech activities to a small outdoor area. Harvard is no exception; it has speech codes that clearly infringe upon students’ First Amendment rights.” (04/05/17)