Monthly feature evaluates school speech codes
June 12, 2012
by Bob Kellogg
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has selected Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for its "Speech Code of the Month" feature in June.
Each month, FIRE features a school with an especially egregious speech code. Azher Majeed, associate director of legal and public advocacy at FIRE, says Centre College was selected because of its vague policy prohibiting disrespect for college officials.
"There is really no definition given, and that 'disrespect or failing to show due respect' can mean really anything that you want in a particular case," he explains. "In that sense, it's ripe for administrative abuse."
Even though Centre is a private school, he says students do not give up their right of free speech when they step on campus.
"Centre College promises it students and faculty members a full-fledged right to free speech and essentially the same rights that you would enjoy at the public college or university down the street," Majeed says. "And so once it has promised those rights, it is legally bound to honor those promises under a contract theory."