T Nation

Debate: Hate Speech on Campus

Having a debate tomorrow in class. I think the T-Nation community usually has good ideas/ valid points.

What do you guys think?

Hi Liquid. You need to tell me more information about you debate. I am an attorney, so I might be able to provide you good insight. Feel free to PM me if you like. But in a broad sense I think we are paying too much attention to it. Defamation laws protect individuals from lies being spoken or published about them. Hate speech speaks more about the person saying it than the subject.

If a white person shouts the “N” word at a black person, I don’t think most would think “yeah I agree” they would think “wow, that white guy is an ignorant racist.” But hate speech can provoke violence and lead to other illegal acts which should be addressed appropriately.

Hopefully that helps, and seriously, if you want to chat more, PM me.

Post this in the political forum and you will probably get good discussion. (for a little while)

will do.

Liquid447:

The debate will be over if the campus bans “hate-speech” or sets a policy where a student could be suspended or expelled for participating in such an event, does that violate their 1st amendment rights?

My thoughts are this: We are getting dangerously close to a dictatorship if we start banning speech. I do realize the public policy reason behind this and behind the ban on yelling “Fire!” in a crowded venue. People could get hurt.

Hate speech usually occurs in a different scenario: two people in a heated exchange. There was a scene in Monty Python or some other movie where a white guy puts body armor on, a helmut, and walks into a groups of black people and yells “N***R!!!” And then runs like hell. In this case, sure, it causes mass chaos, and I think there are enough laws right now to address it. For one, that person could be charge with harrassment and or inciting a riot.

With hate speech, are we going to change the law every time someone invents a new insult word? In school, I can just see too many situations where there is a case of “He said, she said” and then someone is going to get thrown out of school for something they didn’t do.

There are other ways to deal with people verbally insulting each other. In this country, if a person wants to be a racist, he is allowed. If this person wants to say racist/hateful things, they should be allowed. The target has the choice to call the police, walk away or punch the person in the face.

This country is becoming WAY too politically correct and it is driving me CRAZY! Let’s deal with the issue behind hate speech, which is the misunderstanding between races, ethicities and sexual orientations. Instead of having this policy, maybe have a required course be “Race, gender and sexual orientation in America”. I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this case.

We just had an incident on campus here where someone hung a noose outside a person’s office. Because of this there was a letter circulated university wide by our worthless President Tim White over his subsequent freak out. You can bet your ass that person would be looking at expulsion had he been charged. Their justification for it would be to classify it as a threat. On a side note, I’m curious when a black man was hanged last.

In any case, they don’t need a justification…at least in Idaho. The board of regents is granted “Constitutional Autonomy” according to our state AG. They can essentially make whatever rules they see fit to foster an academic environment. I learned this when we brought to the school’s attention that their gun regulations were unconstitutional under the State Constitution.

All I know is that universities are not fostering an academic environment at all, but rather indoctrinating more members into their cult. They seek diversity of skin but enforce only one way of thought.

mike

Read this:

http://nationalreview.com/comment/comment-volokh112102.asp

Also, check out the stuff on this site:

I dont think it violates anyones first amendment rights to disallow them to harass others.

[quote]CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
I dont think it violates anyones first amendment rights to disallow them to harass others.[/quote]

Come on, you know that’s not the arguement. We all agree that harassment is wrong.

[quote]dk44 wrote:
CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
I dont think it violates anyones first amendment rights to disallow them to harass others.

Come on, you know that’s not the arguement. We all agree that harassment is wrong. [/quote]

Is the argument, or the legislation in question, about if someone wants to use racial/ethnic/sexual/gender slurs on his/her own personal journal, or to his/her friends?

Or is the issue about when such use becomes harassment (such as writing slurs on a bathroom wall, where people who may be of the insulted group don’t choose to view it)?

[quote]CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
dk44 wrote:
CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
I dont think it violates anyones first amendment rights to disallow them to harass others.

Come on, you know that’s not the arguement. We all agree that harassment is wrong.

Is the argument, or the legislation in question, about if someone wants to use racial/ethnic/sexual/gender slurs on his/her own personal journal, or to his/her friends?

Or is the issue about when such use becomes harassment (such as writing slurs on a bathroom wall, where people who may be of the insulted group don’t choose to view it)?[/quote]

It depends on how broadly you try to define “harassment”. If someone wants to make an argument in the quad about the merits of affirmative action, that’s not harassment.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
dk44 wrote:
CappedAndPlanIt wrote:
I dont think it violates anyones first amendment rights to disallow them to harass others.

Come on, you know that’s not the arguement. We all agree that harassment is wrong.

Is the argument, or the legislation in question, about if someone wants to use racial/ethnic/sexual/gender slurs on his/her own personal journal, or to his/her friends?

Or is the issue about when such use becomes harassment (such as writing slurs on a bathroom wall, where people who may be of the insulted group don’t choose to view it)?

It depends on how broadly you try to define “harassment”. If someone wants to make an argument in the quad about the merits of affirmative action, that’s not harassment.[/quote]

I think it really depends on how you define “define”.

Here’s the rub: Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution, right? Or is it? In particular, you are ensured that the federal government will not hinder free speech, but I do not believe that applies to other institutions.

So, say a campus group sponsors an event. If one of the guest speakers spews hate then yes, the group can have him grabbed and hauled off the podium. Although he will try to claim it, his rights were not violated.

It does get a bit stickier if the campus itself bans people, say, it fires a controversial professor. Since many schools get money from the government (and are obliged to conform to certain behaviors) that might be construed as violating free speech, but it’s going to be murky. Ditto for state universities that are arguable extensions of the government.

Those are some of the legalities, at least as I understand them.

However, free speech really has the rosy assumption that people will be able to evaluate what they hear rationally. The only cogent excuse given for censorship is a generally foolish public. Personally, I think that universities are doing a dismal job of educating students and that is a far greater threat than free speech.

And I’m probably full of shit…

– jj

[quote]jj-dude wrote:
Here’s the rub: Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution, right? Or is it? In particular, you are ensured that the federal government will not hinder free speech, but I do not believe that applies to other institutions.

So, say a campus group sponsors an event. If one of the guest speakers spews hate then yes, the group can have him grabbed and hauled off the podium. Although he will try to claim it, his rights were not violated.

It does get a bit stickier if the campus itself bans people, say, it fires a controversial professor. Since many schools get money from the government (and are obliged to conform to certain behaviors) that might be construed as violating free speech, but it’s going to be murky. Ditto for state universities that are arguable extensions of the government.

Those are some of the legalities, at least as I understand them.

However, free speech really has the rosy assumption that people will be able to evaluate what they hear rationally. The only cogent excuse given for censorship is a generally foolish public. Personally, I think that universities are doing a dismal job of educating students and that is a far greater threat than free speech.

And I’m probably full of shit…

– jj[/quote]

Most of the limitations on the federal government have been read by the USSC as having been incorporated against the state governments via the 14th Amendment.

So there’s actually a big difference between the restrictions on a state university’s right to act in restricting speech and a private university’s right to do the same stuff. A state university is generally seen to be acting as the government when it regulates its students’ expression. State universities are quite restricted in terms of their ability to do something such as pass a speech code restricting hateful expressions.

wow.

i really appriciate the contributions made here. thank you very much.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Most of the limitations on the federal government have been read by the USSC as having been incorporated against the state governments via the 14th Amendment.

So there’s actually a big difference between the restrictions on a state university’s right to act in restricting speech and a private university’s right to do the same stuff. A state university is generally seen to be acting as the government when it regulates its students’ expression. State universities are quite restricted in terms of their ability to do something such as pass a speech code restricting hateful expressions.[/quote]

Thanks BB for setting be straight. I needed that!

– jj

I was the victim of hate speech. When my grandpa, brothers and I were going to Berkely to work on one of his buildings(I was like 8-10 at the time) we were on a ferry to cross the bay and a large black man called us all crackers.
We all had a pretty good laugh about it.