Demand Free Speech for Tulane University Students!
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University officials at Tulane University have turned their backs on their own free speech policies at the expense of students.
On paper, Tulane University values free speech; their "Demonstration Guidelines" assert: "Tulane is committed to an environment in which a variety of ideas can be freely expressed and critically examined. The University expects that the expression of views be made with respect for the dignity and freedom of others." And their "Social Media Guidelines" state that it "encourages freedom of expression and recognizes the value of diverse opinions."
"We the above signed stand with Speech First and urge Tulane University to revise its 'Acceptable Use Policy,' its 'Demonstration Policy,' and its 'Anti-Harassment Policy' to bring them into compliance with the First Amendment."
Unfortunately, the school doesn't live up to those lofty words.
- Student protests must provide the school with two days' advance notice (defeating the spontaneity of such events!);
- Their internet policy requires students to "communicate only in ways that are kind and respectful";
- Students may not post social media material that is "profane, libelous, obscene, threatening, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory or embarrassing to anyone"; and
- The school bans "harassment, intimidation, or cyberbullying."
Unfortunately, it's become clear that these days, any opinion or political belief - as well as any use of humor, satire, or parody - will be perceived by somebody as "intimidating" or "bullying" - which means that expressing an idea could be grounds for major punishment.
Over the summer, student activists sent Tulane administrators a list of demands, including:
- Students who post "hate speech" on any form of social media be investigated and held accountable for their actions by the school;
- That a "zero tolerance" policy be implemented for racist, sexist, misogynistic, or bigoted language by students, faculty, or staff.
Think it won't happen? Recently, bureaucrats at Tulane caved to student demands and postponed an online talk by author Edward Ball, whose book, Life of a Klansman, described his ancestor's experience as a white supremacist - a book that the New York Times lauded for its anti-racist messages!
Let's encourage Tulane University to fix its broken policies and stand firm against student activists' demands that would gut free expression and discourse on campus.
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