Federal Anti-Harassment Bill Threatens First Amendment Rights on Campus
- "'Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act' Threatens Free Speech on Campus," November 23, 2010: An "anti-bullying" bill introduced in Congress last week gravely threatens free speech on America's college campuses. Despite the bill's admirable intention of preventing future tragedies, FIRE has determined that the bill is at odds with the Supreme Court's carefully crafted definition of harassment and would require colleges to violate the First Amendment.
- "United States Senate Bill S.3960, 'The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,' November 18, 2010," November 18, 2010
- "FIRE's Creeley in 'Chronicle of Higher Education': 'Why the Tyler Clementi Act Threatens Free Speech on Campus'," by Azhar Majeed, April 11, 2011: Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley takes an incisive look at the free speech implications of the proposed Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. Will writes that the proposed legislation—re-introduced in Congress by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Rush Holt, both of New Jersey—would require colleges and universities to enact policies addressing student harassment that are redundant, conflict with Supreme Court precedent, and would endanger student speech rights. Be sure to read Will's piece in full for his analysis of this critical issue.
- "Problematic 'Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act' Returns to Congress," by William Creeley, March 11, 2011: Yesterday, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. While the exact text of the bill is not yet available, there are indications that the new bill recreates the significant First Amendment problems presented by its November 2010 incarnation. The bill is redundant, it replaces the clear definition of harassment with a vague, speech-restrictive definition that conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, and it treats adult college students like children who need special laws.
- "Column: Better Ways to Deal with College Bullying," by Azhar Majeed, January 12, 2011
- "'Bullying Free Speech': FIRE Chairman Warns of Threat to Student Speech Posed by Federal Anti-Bullying Legislation," by William Creeley, January 7, 2011: FIRE Chairman and Co-founder Harvey Silverglate has a new article on Forbes.com discussing the threat to student speech posed by the "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act," introduced in Congress by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Rush Holt last November. In his article, "Bullying Free Speech," Harvey argues that the proposed legislation is "deeply flawed," pointing out that it introduces new restrictions on student expression that are "redundant, frustratingly vague, and dangerously broad." Harvey's warnings about how the bill would erode freedom of expression on campus are timely and important; the bill's authors say that they plan to reintroduce the legislation in the new Congress soon.
- "'Daily Caller' is Latest to Draw Attention to Federal Harassment Bill's Threat to Free Speech on Campus," by Azhar Majeed, December 15, 2010
- "Greg Lukianoff Featured in 'Congressional Quarterly Researcher'," by Bridget Glackin, December 9, 2010: FIRE President Greg Lukianoff is featured in the latest issue of Congressional Quarterly Researcher (purchase required), which examines the ongoing debate over how to address harassment and bullying in schools. Going head-to-head with Representative Rush Holt, co-sponsor of the recently proposed "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act," Greg reviews the dangers posed by the rush to legislate.
- "David French on the Tyler Clementi Act and Threats to Free Speech in 'National Review Online'," December 1, 2010
- "Vague Anti-bullying Laws Have Unintended Negative Consequences," December 1, 2010
- "Criticism of FIRE's Stance on 'Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act' Misses the Mark," by William Creeley, November 30, 2010
- "Congress' Bad Idea and Other Issues: FIRE Media This Week ," by Robert Shibley, November 24, 2010
- "'Tyler Clementi Act' a Grave Threat to Free Speech on Campus," by Robert Shibley, November 23, 2010
- "Why the Tyler Clementi Act Threatens Free Speech on Campuses,"
by William Creeley, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 10, 2011
- "Stop Making Laws Named After People Who Die,"
by Matt Welch, reason.com, January 7, 2011
- "Bullying Free Speech,"
by Harvey Silverglate, Forbes, January 6, 2011
- "Sens. Lautenberg, Holt plan to reintroduce anti-bullying bill named for Tyler Clementi,"
by Raju Chebium, Daily Record, January 5, 2011
- "Free speech advocates alarmed by 'unconstitutional' anti-bullying bill ,"
by Steven Nelson, The Daily Caller, December 14, 2010
- "Should colleges be required to prohibit bullying and harassment?,"
by Greg Lukianoff, Congressional Quarterly Researcher, December 10, 2010
- "Anti-Bullying Laws and the Misguided Drive for Social Equality,"
by Wendy Kaminer, The Atlantic, December 2, 2010
- "Proposed federal law another threat to free speech on campus,"
by Thomas Mitchell, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 24, 2010