An organization called Speech First says (PDF) that Oklahoma State University (OSU) has created rules and regulations that “deter, suppress, and punish speech about political and social issues of the day.”
And who do these rules and regulations usually target? Conservatives and Christians.
Speech First filed a lawsuit.
One regulation at OSU is the Bias Reporting System, similar to those at schools like Virginia Tech, which allows students to anonymously report other students for participating in so-called bias actions. In plain language, “bias” is anything a leftist doesn’t like.
Regardless of political affiliation or ideological bent, why would an institution of higher learning even come up with such an idea?
OSU also has a so-called harassment policy, which Speech First says “is so vague that it can easily be applied to a wide swath of protected.” And there’s the computer policy, which bans students from using their school email accounts “for protected political speech.”
An excerpt of the complaint (PDF):
The bias-incidents policy is a content-based and viewpoint-based restriction on speech. It is presumptively unconstitutional and cannot survive strict scrutiny…The policy is unconstitutionally overbroad as it encompasses protected speech, and there are a substantial number of instances where the policy cannot be applied consistent with the First Amendment.
Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, noted how such policies chill speech (especially in a place where people are supposed to discuss and debate ideas).
“The fact that students can’t even express an opinion without worrying that another student can use a campus policy to report on them shows us that the school’s administrators have no interest in protecting students’ rights,” Trump said. “These policies not only force students to censor themselves when they interact with one another, but they also put students in the mindset that they should be offended by the opinions of others they disagree with, and that by committing the offense of being ‘bias,’ or what most of us may just call ‘being opinionated,’ warrants disciplinary action against you.”
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