If liberals can classify conservatism as hate speech, they can ban it on campus. This report from Hans Bader at the Examiner is cause for concern.

Most Democrats back hate speech ban in poll; conservatism equated with hate

51% of Democrats back a ban on “hate speech,” while only 21% oppose such a ban, in a recent You.Gov poll. This is disturbing because to many liberals, commonplace conservative views qualify as “hate speech.” Under campus hate speech and “harassment” codes, students have wrongly been subjected to campus disciplinary proceedings, in violation of the First Amendment, merely for expressing commonplace opinions about sexual and racial issues, such as criticizing feminism or affirmative action, or discussing homosexuality or the racial implications of the death penalty. (See the examples cited in the Amicus Curiae brief of Students for Individual Liberty filed in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, available in the Westlaw database at 1998 WL 847365.)

In July, U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Michael Yaki, a staunch liberal, declared that speech on college campuses, including but not limited to “hate speech,” should be restricted to protect young people’s developing brains. Yaki is a former senior advisor and district director for House Minority Leader (and former Speaker) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (During the Obama administration, the Education and Justice Departments have also sought to restrict students’ free speech and due process rights on college campuses and in the public schools). Yaki argued that “how the juvenile or . . . young adult brain processes information is vastly different from the way that we [older] adults do.”

In light of “that, and because of the unique nature of a university campus setting,” he says “there are very good and compelling reasons why broader policies and prohibitions on conduct in activities and in some instances speech are acceptable on a college campus level that might not be acceptable say in an adult work environment or in an adult situation,” such as “hate speech.” Yaki was thus disagreeing with federal appeals court rulings striking down campus speech codes, such as Dambrot v. Central Michigan University (1995) and DeJohn v. Temple University (2008).