by AndrewMc | 3/03/2010 06:00:00 AM
In the past few weeks there have been a number of incidents on campuses and in classrooms around the nation that touch on the thorny issue of freedom of speech.

This isn't a new issue—Universities and courts have been grappling with this since the campus protest movements of the 1960s.

But it seems that the problem has come into fresh relief recently. Below the fold I'll bring you a few cases of contested speech, some of which have developed into court cases, others of which I'm just pulling out in order to highlight.

I'll be interested to see what you think.




To my mind, college campuses, and to a lesser but still important degree the secondary classrooms, are a touchy place in which to contest the issue of freedom of speech. Especially on campuses, there should be even more leniency when it comes to freedom of speech.

A college campus exists as a cauldron of ideas. It is a place where ideas and issues should be debated without fear of recrimination or persecution. A campus is a place where extra care should be given to allow people to voice crazy, wild, profound, useless and useful ideas, and where counter debate can go on.

Here's the first of the free speech issues. My own opinion is that the speech here is protected. What do you say?

Every few minutes during a talk last week at the University of California at Irvine, the same thing happened. A student would get up, shout something critical of Israel, be applauded by some in the audience, and be led away by police.

The speaker -- Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States -- was repeatedly forced to stop his talk. He pleaded for the right to continue, and continued. University administrators lectured the students and asked them to let Oren speak. In the end, 11 students were arrested and they may also face charges of violating university rules.

Those who interrupted Oren, not surprisingly, are strong critics of Israel who believe that they must draw attention to the Palestinian cause. But an argument put forward by some national Muslim leaders in the last week has sent the discussion in a new direction. Those groups maintain that interrupting a campus speech -- even repeatedly -- should be seen as a protected form of speech.



OK, how about here?

MIAMI — A South Florida teenager who sued her former principal after she was suspended for creating a Facebook page criticizing a teacher can proceed with her lawsuit, a federal judge has ruled.

The student, Katherine Evans, is seeking to have her suspension expunged from her disciplinary record. School officials suspended her for three days, saying she had been “cyberbullying” the teacher, Sarah Phelps. Ms. Evans is also seeking a “nominal fee” for what she argues was a violation of her First Amendment rights, her lawyers said, and payment of her legal fees.



Is this protected speech?

It also seems to me that school officials are quick to overreact to almost any perceived threat. But the schools' intrusions into students lives seems to go far beyond the need to maintain discipline while providing an education.

Consider these two cases, where school administrators confess to using school-donated laptops to spy on children in their homes. The justification is that the school purchase the laptops, and the kids are supposed to be doing homework. OK, I understand that we want to kids to do the assigned work. But spying on them through a remote camera in their own homes? Without their knowledge?





I'm wondering about the path down which this nation has wandered with regards to free speech and privacy. It probably pre-dates 9/11, but since then we have casually accepted governmental intrusion into even the most mundane aspects of our lives. And far from any kind of outrage, what we see is a broad tolerance. Even justification.

There's a bit of outcry over the school administrators' spying on minors, and the ACLU is involved. But in newspapers and news shows this trend has gotten very little attention.

Are we more generally tolerant of government subversion of freedom of speech and privacy? I think there's something to be said for the idea that the United States is trending towards a police state. Or at least towards one in which police tactics are tolerated and seen as OK.

Consider the recent 9th Circuit Court court decision, which essentially invented new law by allowing police to enter your home without any warrant.

Or the practice on the part of New York police officers of stopping anyone they can in order to get their names into a criminal database.



What on earth is going on here?

Labels: , ,

 
Permalink

Links to this post:

Create a Link




35 Comments:


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 3/03/2010 7:05 PM:

My opinion, is that the Military Commissions Act has been law for too long. I remember the day it passed and the article the NYT wrote about the death of America. I expect it to get worse as more people are in positions of power who don't remember what it was like before 9-11, even before the OKC Bombing. And the DOJ just let everyone off the hook. The school can spy because the NSA can spy. They can arrest a student for speaking out against Israel's colonizing the West Bank, because they'll never be brought to justice, and remember the professor who worked for BYU and lost his job for his research about 9-11? The MCA has been law for too long, and what really happened to the officers who threw protesters into Pier 57? Clinton being impeached - those were the good 'ol days. Like someone said over at Kos, "We've entered the Age of Stupid."

 

Blogger AndrewMc on 3/04/2010 3:52 PM:

I couldn't agree more. People are too comfortable with the idea of the government being able to arrest someone for no reason.

 

Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/04/2010 8:27 PM:

Part of the problem is a failure to think things through: people want freedom to do or say anything, but they also want something done if someone else does something harmful or hateful. And our tolerance for risk is nil, so we're more inclined to over-react (if it's public).

Freedom is a balance, and there are risks. Otherwise, it's not freedom.

 

Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/04/2010 8:27 PM:

This comment has been removed by the author.

 

Blogger AndrewMc on 3/05/2010 8:26 AM:

Well put.

 

Blogger mark on 3/06/2010 2:40 PM:

Were the protestors intending to exercise free speech or prevent Oren's?

Protesting his speech outside or holding a rally is ok. So is challenging Oren during question time. Organized interruption of his speech is an attempt to suppress free speech, which was the protestor's intent. What was novel here was that they were properly not permitted to do so by the owners of the venue, the university. Good. Normally, the campus Left gets to shout down ppl they disagree with and prevent them from being heard.

My right to free speech is to argue with you, not to prevent you from being able to argue your point. Even less do I have the right to prevent you from arguing on your own front porch by trespassing.

 

Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/07/2010 12:08 PM:

Protesting his speech outside or holding a rally is ok. So is challenging Oren during question time.

You're apparently unable or unwilling to distinguish between being impolite and supressing speech. The protesters interrupted the speech about a half dozen times, for about a minute each. Yeah, it was rude. Was it a fundamental violation of the speaker's rights?

I'm not convinced.

On the other hand, the university is generally within its rights to enforce standards of civility at official functions.... assuming that this was an official function to which such rules would reasonably apply. I'm utterly unconvinced, however, that the university's police authority extends to enforcing standards of civility, or that "disturbing the peace" is actually a consitutionally defensible charge.

 

Blogger mark on 3/12/2010 5:51 PM:

It's not rudeness, Ahistoricality, It's calculated and organized disruption."Rudeness" is a nonsense term to wave away what was actually happening.

As far as disruptions go, the protestors were more restrained than many I have witnessed where the objective was to prevent the speech from being heard. My expectations, is that the charges ultimately would be dropped in most jurisdictions.

 

Blogger Hochfart on 8/24/2011 3:45 AM:

Vestidosnow es una Vestidos de Fiesta 2012. Tenemos experiencia de muchos a?o en las 2012 vestidos de fiesta. Les ofrecemos variedades de vestidos formales, vestido de fiesta 2012. Tenemos experiencia de muchos años en las vestidos de fiesta baratos 2012, vestidos para graduación, vestidos de baile, así como Vestidos de Fiesta 2011. Todos son de precios económicos pero de alta calidad.

 

Anonymous Singapore 2012 Calendar on 11/16/2011 9:44 AM:

I must admit that this is one great insight. It surely gives a company the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and really take part in creating something special and tailored to their needs. Dining Table Pads

 

Anonymous remove skin tags on 12/28/2011 3:48 AM:

I was very happy that I discovered this website. I needed to thank you for this excellent information!! I undoubtedly appreciated every bit of it and I have bookmarked your blog to check out the new stuff you post down the road.

 

Anonymous Paradise Valley Homes on 3/31/2012 4:28 AM:

Initially the movement operated chiefly at local levels later it expanded to state and national levels. Progressives drew support from the middle class, and supporters included many lawyers, teachers, physicians, ministers and business people. Thanks.

 

Anonymous Paper writing service on 4/11/2012 11:07 PM:

Dewey believed the young were losing their opportunities to learn how to actively participate in democracy with the slow disappearance of small scale enterprises and local community life. Schools, thought Dewey, had to reconcile this. Dewey also believed all students deserved the right to an academic education, not just a vocational one, and that emotional, artistic and creative abilities needed to be developed just as much as formal academic skills. Thanks for sharing.
Regards,

 

Anonymous Essay writing UK on 5/20/2012 9:01 AM:

Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it u. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. UK essays

 

Anonymous Michael on 6/18/2012 12:12 PM:

I'm wondering about the path down which this nation has wandered with regards to free speech and privacy. It probably pre-dates 9/11, but since then we have casually accepted governmental intrusion into even the most mundane aspects of our lives. And far from any kind of outrage, what we see is a broad tolerance. Even justification.
prom dresses 2012 | casual wedding dresses

 

Anonymous Anonymous on 6/21/2012 10:38 PM:

That's the basic freedom, provided for by our Constitution.

 

Anonymous Wedding Dresses on 7/09/2012 3:43 AM:

We offer wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, beach wedding dresses,my friends welcome to visit and see!

 

Anonymous howtostopsnoringinstantly on 7/16/2012 7:58 AM:

You have a very inspiring way of exploring and sharing your thoughts. It is very uncommon nowadays, lots of sites and blogs having copy pasted or rewritten info.

 

Anonymous skin tag removal at home on 7/17/2012 12:33 AM:

Freedom of expression is essential and is the right of every human beiong

 

Anonymous kimono bjj on 7/26/2012 10:40 PM:

Too much valuable things are shared here,I really appreciated form above information ,In past I was searching like that,now I caught all the information which I want,So thanks for sharing pretty good post.

 

Anonymous Latest Mobile on 8/08/2012 12:29 AM:

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up.

 

Anonymous about mole removal on 9/04/2012 12:10 AM:

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

 

Anonymous royal genware redstone on 10/02/2012 12:34 AM:

This really is such a excellent article to read. Stimulating me to read more of your posts. Hoping to see a lot more excellent articles from you shortly.

 

Anonymous inlines on 10/12/2012 5:41 AM:

I really appreciates the organizes for Freedom Of Speech And Privacy is truthful and giving there valuable information.Thanks

 

Anonymous cure gonorrhea on 11/01/2012 1:28 AM:

To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture

 

Anonymous custom tarot deck on 11/09/2012 12:44 AM:

Freedom of speech is also sometimes limited to free speech zones. Restrictions placed upon core political speech must weather strict scrutiny analysis or they will be struck down.

 

Anonymous cheap prom dresses on 11/12/2012 10:55 AM:

I’m very occupied incoming your content, and I indicate you to browse some online salts away to discovery something antithetical.

 

Anonymous mappsolutely.com on 11/16/2012 12:18 AM:

This is really very informative post.The way you have presented the information is really appreciable.

 

Anonymous how to remove a mole on 11/29/2012 3:31 AM:

I liked the way you have explained each and every incidents which had taken place in the court room.

 

Anonymous swarovski purse on 12/05/2012 6:51 PM:

me and patners really enjoyed your blog and its very nice one. many of the peoples con get many information from your blog

 

Anonymous cure for hpv on 2/06/2013 1:19 AM:

Freedom of speech should be given most importance but it should be abide by some rules. So that even if students get freedom it should be a bit in controlled environment.

 

Anonymous communication dissertation samples on 2/13/2013 6:26 AM:

This is a superb post Freedom of Speech and Privacy in the Classroom, on Campus, and at Home. I benefit from the knowledge lot. I will bookmark this page. show gratitude’s for sharing this information.

 

Anonymous Clipping Path on 3/24/2014 11:41 AM:

I am really impressed from your immaginative thinking and impressive stated information, i am glad

 

Anonymous Juara Poker Online on 4/15/2014 10:19 PM:

I am truly inspired by this online journal! Extremely clear clarification of issues is given and it is open to every living soul. I have perused your post, truly you have given this extraordinary informative data about it. Agen Game Poker

 

Anonymous Taruhan Bola Online on 4/15/2014 10:30 PM:

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work. I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea Agen Bola Online