Which leads one to wonder how they plan to continue teaching political science and/or religious studies of any kind. Remember when institutions of higher learning encouraged debate? Me too.

Samantha Harris of The FIRE has the story.

Speech Code of the Month: Norfolk State University

FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2012: Norfolk State University in Virginia.

Norfolk State, a public university in Virginia, maintains an Acceptable Use of Technological Resources policy (PDF) that unlawfully restricts protected expression in a number of different ways. The policy defines “technological resources” quite broadly to include “information systems; computer hardware and software; network and telecommunications systems and services; and Internet access.”

The policy contains an extensive list of “prohibited activities” for users of the university’s technological resources, including using those resources “to further personal views” or “religious or political causes.” It also prohibits downloading or transmitting “inappropriate messages or images,” without defining “inappropriate.” As an initial matter, this policy prohibits—on the basis of content and viewpoint—a tremendous amount of constitutionally protected expression.

Furthermore, it is so broad that there is simply no way it can be enforced across the board, opening the door to double standards and administrative abuse. To enforce this policy as written, the university would have to monitor the content of every student email, every Facebook status update, and every tweet posted from an on-campus computer or via the institution’s wi-fi network to ensure that the messages contain no personal views, political or religious expression, or “inappropriate” material. Obviously, this is an impossible task.