May 3, 2013
THE CARTOON that was widely disseminated this week depicting Jackie Robinson hugging Jason Collins completely distorts the significance of Robinson's legacy and Collins' act. We're all aware of the social juggernaut that is the gay-rights movement. Anyone who refuses to stand up (or come out) and support same-sex marriage, public funding for gender-reassignment operations, punitive actions against the Boy Scouts and the inclusion of gay-friendly provisions in immigration legislation is a bigot.
February 23, 2006 |
Two Pennsylvania college students filed federal civil rights lawsuits yesterday against Pennsylvania State and Temple Universities, alleging that "speech codes" at the schools violate their First Amendment rights. Both plaintiffs are represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group known for its support of religious expression and its opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Yesterday's filings in U.S. District Court signaled the organization's new intention to litigate against colleges and universities nationwide that have "incorporated ideology into their bureaucracy," said David French, an attorney for the Arizona-based group.
February 25, 2004 |
Shippensburg University has agreed to alter its campus speech code and adopt a newly worded antidiscrimination policy after a court ruled that the prior wording could have dampened free speech on campus. The decision by the state-run university was hailed as a major victory by a Philadelphia-based free-speech group that has launched legal attacks on what it considers restrictive and unconstitutional speech codes at college campuses across the country. A U.S. District Court ruling by Judge John E. Jones 3d in September found that many provisions of the Shippensburg speech code "could certainly be used to truncate debate and free expression by students.
April 24, 2003 |
A Philadelphia-based free-speech group has launched the first phase of a national attack on controversial campus speech codes by filing a complaint in federal court against Shippensburg University, calling its restrictions on campus speech unconstitutional. The group, cofounded three years ago by a University of Pennsylvania professor, says it plans to file similar complaints against other public universities across the country in coming months. It also is launching a Web site in May to list the speech codes of every university in the country and to give each code a grade based on how restrictive it is. "We're seeking to end the absolute scandal" against free speech that speech codes have become, said Alan Charles Kors, a Penn history professor and cofounder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
October 4, 2002 |
AFTER SEPT. 11, many feared that the war on terror would inspire mass government restrictions on free speech. And a fistful of public critics of the war (Bill Maher and two small-town journalists) were indeed fired, boycotted or suspended. Most of that hysteria died down soon enough - but not at our universities. A year later, on college campuses, we are still suspending professors and beating up students with unpopular viewpoints. And what's more, we do all this under the pretext of fostering openness and free expression.
June 3, 1999 |
Sometimes even Supreme Court justices resort to spin control. In announcing the court's 5-4 decision that schools may be held liable for sexual harassment by students, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dismissed the concerns of her dissenting colleagues. She was not worried, she said, that the ruling would "teach little Johnny a perverse lesson in federalism" by imposing a national civility code on every school that receives federal money. Instead, she said, the decision assures that "little Mary may attend class.
December 7, 1998
Small towns are not museum set pieces: Use them I live and work in a small town with an old-fashioned downtown shopping area (Inquirer, Nov. 26). Not a pseudo-downtown, or a manipulated downtown - the real thing. I run a bookstore that has continually served my community for almost 70 years. So what's happening in our downtown? Well, when the shopkeepers get together, talk is of bills unpaid and rents late and where are the people? At the mall? Online? Aren't downtowns coming back?
October 16, 1998 |
Alan Charles Kors, professor of history and scholar of the Enlightenment, is outraged over what he sees happening on America's campuses. It springs, he says, from a sense that he has been personally betrayed. As a Princeton graduate in the 1960s, he decided on a career in academe because he relished the prospect of engaging in "free inquiry" into vital questions of human existence. He had not imagined, he says, that he would end up in one of "the most unfree, regimented" and intellectually circumscribed professions in America.
November 10, 1995 |
In the aftermath of a vicious election campaign in which people accused one another of wielding words as weapons, the North Penn school board began debate on a hate-speech code. The board voted unanimously to adopt such a policy at a raucous Sept. 5 meeting, when it met to act on the findings of an investigator who had concluded that board Vice President Donna Mengel had made an anti-Semitic remark. Wednesday night, many at the sparsely attended meeting were Mengel supporters, and they took the opportunity to lambaste the two people who had helped publicize the accusation against her: Board Solicitor Charles Potash, who wrote the letter to the board accusing Mengel of the remark, and board member Carmen Leahy, who gave copies to the media.
February 28, 1995 |
Universities - and their law schools in particular - should, of all places, understand the virtue of freedom of speech. Whatever debate may rage in other countries about the value of untrammeled expression, that issue was decided in the United States in 1791 when the First Amendment was adopted, proclaiming "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. " Later, the prohibition was made applicable to all official authority. The language is absolute and unconditional.