US Some want to restrict free speech on campus

06:17  12 february  2018
06:17  12 february  2018 Source:   msn.com

University asks judge to dismiss white nationalist's lawsuit

  University asks judge to dismiss white nationalist's lawsuit The University of Cincinnati is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the organizer for white nationalist Richard Spencer's campus tour, calling it meritless. The lawsuit filed in Jan. 2018 says the school won't rent space for Spencer to speak on campus unless a nearly $11,000 security fee is paid.

Some students at UCF say free speech should be an integral part of college life. Florida lawmakers are trying to broaden free - speech rights on campus by making all areas of campus “traditional public forums” and making schools financially liable if speaking events are disrupted.

Some students point out, however, that limiting free speech can be abused or enforced unfairly. The issue of free speech on campus is gaining traction in Florida because of recent nationwide protests that turned violent, and because of lawmakers are trying to expand free speech on campuses .

A student stands under an arch of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management building at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. © Phelan M. Ebenhack A student stands under an arch of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management building at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Richard Walker, a University of Central Florida sophomore and member of Knights for Socialism, believes his school should be limiting the voices of those who spew hateful rhetoric on campus.

"The university's first responsibility is ensuring the safety and well-being of their students," Walker said. "It might be just words now, but if you let that sort of thing come into the public discourse and become widely accepted, it doesn't stay words."

Judge Declines to Toss Brett Ratner’s Libel Suit Against Rape Accuser

  Judge Declines to Toss Brett Ratner’s Libel Suit Against Rape Accuser A federal judge in Hawaii refused on Thursday to dismiss producer Brett Ratner’s libel lawsuit against a woman who accused him of rape. Attorneys for the accuser, Melanie Kohler, had urged Judge Helen Gillmor to throw out the case, arguing that it was intended to discourage other women from coming forward. They also argued that the four-page lawsuit was not sufficiently detailed to sustain a claim for defamation. Gillmor found that the claim was sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss.“This case is going to come down to whether what she said was true, and we’re going to have to try the case to determine that,” Eric Seitz, an attorney for Ratner, said.

The Glaring Evidence That Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus . Late in the event, he declared, “I don't want anyone's speech to be suppressed in any setting.” The root of the disagreement was his belief that little speech is restricted .

Campus administrations have for decades restricted the rights of students to dissent--but we'll need to fight for free speech if we want to see social change. Anti- speech policies on campus are so draconian that even some right-wing students are caught up in the attack, though administrators tend

In America's politically polarized environment, students such as Walker increasingly think colleges should ban speech that may be racist or defamatory, a trend that worries advocates of the First Amendment.

More than 40 percent of students believe that the First Amendment does not protect hate speech, according to a Brookings Institute poll taken of 1,500 students nationwide last year. Almost 20 percent believe that using violence is an acceptable means to stop such speech, the poll found. In all, 53 percent of students — 61 percent Democratic and 47 percent Republican — believe that colleges and universities should prohibit offensive speech, according to the survey.

Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, but "fighting words," slurs or epithets that would cause a reasonable person to react violently, are not.

College Republicans' Patriot Prayer rally disrupted by counter-protesters

  College Republicans' Patriot Prayer rally disrupted by counter-protesters Five people were arrested as fights broke out and at least one American flag was burned Saturday after a college Republican rally in Seattle drew counter-protesters. College Republicans at the University of Washington had invited members of Patriot Prayer, a group in Vancouver, Wash., to speak in the university's Red Square for a "freedom rally," the Seattle Times reported.The goals were to bring conservatives together and promote free-speech rights, College Republicans President Chevy Swanson told the Times.

Follow. Americans say they want free and unfettered speech , though they would tolerate some restrictions on what can be said on campus . So Americans are willing to let colleges and universities restrict some speech .

The Fight Over Free Speech on Campus Isn't Just About Free Speech . Some professors have also reported a chilling effect on their own speech , citing complaints that texts by authors like Mark Twain are And you have institutions who don’t want to hear about [issues that affect those groups].

"I'm very disconcerted about how very uninformed — frankly dangerously uninformed — many college students are about the First Amendment," said Lawrence Walters, a Longwood, Fla.-based attorney who focuses on First Amendment issues.

Some students at UCF say free speech should be an integral part of college life.

"If you're going to insulate people in college from offensive speech, how are they going to survive the real world?" said UCF junior Alexander Zimmerman. He said he has been spat at and threatened because he supports President Donald Trump.

Florida lawmakers are trying to broaden free-speech rights on campus by making all areas of campus "traditional public forums" and making schools financially liable if speaking events are disrupted.

What constitutes hate speech varies widely from person to person, but a generally accepted definition is that it "offends, threatens or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits," according to the American Bar Association.

White nationalist's planned Cincinnati campus visit off

  White nationalist's planned Cincinnati campus visit off A white nationalist's plan to speak on the University of Cincinnati campus during spring break has been scuttled by a legal standoff over the Ohio school's demand for a security fee of nearly $11,000, an attorney for Richard Spencer said Monday. Attorney Kyle Bristow told The Associated Press that Spencer's tour organizer, Cameron Padgett, is now hoping that the appearance can be rescheduled for summer or fall.The University of Cincinnati president confirmed in a message Monday to the school community that the March 14 date proposed was no longer an option.

STEPHEN LAM/REUTERS/NewscomIs the campus free speech "crisis" a myth? Well, it depends on your definition of crisis, but there's plenty of evidence that some kind of problem exists, despite what several recent contrarian takes would have us believe.

We asked Greg to run down some common misconceptions about speech on campus before joining us at Aspen Ideas. Is there anything noble about a leader firing subordinates for voicing criticism, or telling protesters that they have to restrict themselves to tiny Orwellian free speech zones?

Walker said he doesn't think using violence is a "categorically bad" response to speech that intimidates marginalized groups or promotes ethnic cleansing. He pointed to the white nationalist march last year in Charlottesville, Va., as an example of an event where violence may be a necessary response to the marchers.

During the march in August, white nationalists and neo-Nazis from across the country — bearing tiki torches and chanting racist slogans — converged at the University of Virginia to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several violent clashes between the white supremacists and people protesting their presence. The day ended when a white nationalist allegedly drove his car through a crowd of protesters, killing a woman.

After the events in Charlottesville, University of Central Florida Police changed their approach to dealing with the issue, including creating a regional task force for local law enforcement agencies to coordinate should a controversial speaker come to campus.

Georgia Tech student group helping train college students with firearms to fight back

  Georgia Tech student group helping train college students with firearms to fight back A group of students at Georgia Tech who banded together for sports shooting are now using their skills to teach others how to defend themselves amid a spike in off-campus crime. Since Jan. 10, there have been seven incidents involving a weapon in Atlanta neighborhoods bordering the school, according to FOX5.Rob Montgomery, the vice president of the Marksmanship Club at Georgia Tech, told FOX5 he's upset thieves are prowling campus-area neighborhoods looking to take advantage of college students."What we really think is the best solution to these problems is to have people properly trained in the use of firearms," he said.

But students understand the limitations of free speech policies, especially with regard to discriminatory and offensive rhetoric. Yet about 54 percent of students said that "the climate on campus prevents some people from saying what they believe because others might find it offensive."

There isn’t a week that goes by without a campus free speech controversy reaching the headlines. However, 92 percent of American colleges still maintain speech codes that either clearly restrict —or could too easily be used to restrict — free speech .

"I think that it's fair to say that things did not go as well as they could have had a proper plan been implemented and executed," UCF Police Deputy Chief Carl Metzger said of the Charlottesville march.

In October, the department sent 15 officers to a speech at the University of Florida given by white nationalist Richard Spencer so they could bring back lessons learned from the police response there.

The UF protests were peaceful, aside from a few skirmishes — a man with swastikas on his shirt was punched in the face while walking through a group of protesters and a shooting that happened after the event. Nobody was seriously injured.

UCF officers have worked several high-profile events with political speakers recently, all of which were relatively peaceful.

In 2016, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at the university after his event was initially canceled because of security concerns.

Several people were removed from the events, but no arrests were reported.

The department may face its next test in April. After conservative speaker Charlie Kirk announced an event at the university, a group of Orlando anti-fascists vowed on Twitter to show up and "defend each other from fascists & their sympathizers."

UCF Police commonly respond to complaints about campus preachers and anti-abortion advocates. Students are often seen debating them at several "free speech zones" across the campus.

"Our policy is that the university is a limited public forum," said Shane Juntenen, the director of the university's Office of Student Involvement.

Students and faculty aren't restricted to those spaces, just those unaffiliated with the school, including the preachers and anti-abortion protesters, he said.

Walters opposes free speech zones, saying they condition students to believe it's OK to be sheltered from opinions they disagree with, no matter how vile.

A measure in the Florida Senate seeks to ban "free-speech zones" and hold universities financially responsible up to $100,000 if students or protesters disrupt controversial events.

The Senate Education Committee approved the bill in a 7-4 vote. It would have to go through another committee before it can be debated on the floor.

Number of U.S. hate groups jumps 20 percent since 2014: watchdog .
<p>The number of U.S. hate groups rose again in 2017, during President Donald Trump's first year in office, and has surged 20 percent since 2014, a U.S. civil rights watchdog said on Wednesday.</p>The Southern Poverty Law Center's annual census identified 954 hate groups in 2017, a 4 percent rise from the year before. The increase followed a 2.8 increase in 2016, and the most recent number represents a jump of one-fifth from 2014.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!