Florida university gets 'red light' for new speech code policy
August 12, 2013
by Bob Kellogg
The new “free speech” policy adopted by a Florida university does just the opposite: it prohibits free speech and punishes students for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Florida Atlantic University’s “Free Speech and Campus Civility” policy, in part, bans “religiously intolerant” speech, says David Hacker of Alliance Defending Freedom.
The school is located in Boca Raton, Florida.
Hacker says the biggest problem with this policy is its ambiguity, citing restrictions of “religiously intolerant" speech and “racist speech.”
“Even speech that’s ‘degrading’ to others. What does that mean?” Hacker asks. “It’s simply a policy that’s enforced on a completely subjective basis.”
After the school introduced this new policy, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, gave FAU its “red light” speech code rating, the lowest rating a school can earn.
According to FIRE, the new policy at FAU reads as such:
Here at FAU, we encourage our campus community to exercise this cherished freedom in lively debate. In fact, we protect and promote that right. What we do insist on, however, is that everyone in the FAU community behave and speak to and about one another in ways that are not racist, religiously intolerant or otherwise degrading to others.
Regarding “religious intolerance,” Hacker questions how that affects people of faith on campus.
“Christian students who want to share the Gospel with their friends, who might think the Gospel is offensive, would be prohibited under this policy from doing that,” he says.