Speech codes prevent students from learning how to argue respectfully.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE; thefire.org) released its 2013 report on campus speech codes, which shows that three-fifths of American campuses have speech policies that impinge upon students’ First Amendment rights.
Atlantic columnist and FIRE Board of Advisors member, Wendy Kaminer, offers her assessment of the unintended consequences of campus civility policies in a new video that has just been released:
Kaminer looks at the real results of “civility” policies as they are implemented at American colleges and universities:
“One of the ironies of this drive for civility … [is that] you end up encouraging incivility, because people don’t know how to argue. They don’t know what to do when confronted with an idea they really don’t like. They don’t have an administrator they go complain to, and so they just shout it down because they haven’t learned how to do anything else.”
Wendy Kaminer is a lawyer and social critic, who writes about law, liberty, feminism, religion, and popular culture. Her latest book is Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU.
As Kaminer says, “If students are going to learn to think for themselves, they have to learn to speak for themselves.”
She also explains that bullying is so broadly defined, that the concept becomes meaningless and the problems associated with it are trivialized. Kaminer notes indicates the roots of this issue stem from the 1980’s “pop therapy movement”. Ultimately, a large part of the “drive for diversity” is rooted in this era and the theories that “conflated words and action.” As a result, “free speech” is being confused with “hate speech”.
Her recommendation to students: Know the speech codes before you go.
New FIRE Video: Wendy Kaminer on Free Speech, Civility, and Anti-Bullying Laws (FIRE - News)