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Speech Codes

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NEWS
April 24, 2003 | By James M. O'Neill INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
April 27, 1993 | By Howard Goodman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A water buffalo, as defined by Webster's, is a slow, powerful, ox-like animal known alliteratively to scientists as Bubalus bubalis. It's used as a draft animal in its native South Asia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Is it a racial epithet, too? The University of Pennsylvania's judicial system thinks so. Freshman Eden Jacobowitz invoked the beast one night in January as he shouted down a group of black women students who he said were making noise outside his dormitory window.
NEWS
August 4, 1993 | by Nicole Weisensee, Daily News Staff Writer
Despite attacks earlier this week by conservative senators, the Senate yesterday easily confirmed former University of Pennsylvania President Sheldon Hackney as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The vote was 76-23. Hackney will be sworn in today to head the agency that doles out federal grants to universities. Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., who helped shepherd Hackney's nomination through the Senate, called Hackney "a thoughtful and quiet man, but don't for one minute underestimate the strength and leadership that underlies these traits.
NEWS
December 3, 1993 | By ROBERT D. RICHARDS
For anyone who has ever worked at a university, it comes as no surprise that it often takes administrators and faculty an inordinate amount of time to reach a conclusion the rest of society just sees as common sense. Such is finally the case at the University of Pennsylvania. Claire Fagin, the interim president, and Marvin Lazerson, the interim provost, have now decided to scrap the controversial speech code that banned racially demeaning remarks and provided for "free-speech monitors," sometimes referred to as "thought police.
NEWS
May 25, 1993
The Great Water Buffalo Caper of 1993 is ended. Maybe. Pending appeals. No one will be flayed for crimes against Penn's speech codes. There were casualties. Let us take them in chronological order. First, there are the students who were disturbed by a sorority that held a noisy chapter session under their windows at 3 a.m. Second, there are the young women themselves, who became the object of a hail of epithets, many of them racial. That's when things got really weird.
NEWS
November 18, 1993
Well, two cheers for the University of Pennsylvania's decision to dump the hate-speech code that last spring managed to turn the sophomoric hollering of the words "water buffalo" into a national seminar on the First Amendment. We say two cheers because Penn's acting president, Claire Fagin, has got the university policy apparatus working up a new guide on racial and ethnic harassment. And whether it will say in plain English that censorship in the pursuit of civility is no virtue remains to be seen.
NEWS
July 2, 1993
Unless there's a late-breaking ambush, we fully expect to see Penn president Sheldon Hackney ascend soon to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. Word is that confirmation is in the bag, possibly on Bastille Day in mid- July, a holiday typically celebrated with gusto at the White Dog Cafe, the unofficial watering hole for Penn's faculty and brass. Perhaps there will be some talk there, as there was in Washington, about Penn's "painful spring" - and the painful lessons it taught the would-be NEH director.
NEWS
June 13, 1993
Having joined with considerable enthusiasm the pummeling of Penn president Sheldon Hackney for his less-than-heroic stands as the campus newspaper was trashed and the epithet "water buffalo" launched an Alice-in-Wonderland judicial inquiry, may we now say: Whoa! As Mr. Hackney inches closer to hearings on his fitness to head the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is not merely being questioned (as well he should be), but being beaten to a pulp. Things have gotten runaway ugly.
NEWS
June 3, 1999 | by Jeffrey Rosen
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.
NEWS
July 13, 1994 | By CLAUDE LEWIS
I have a novel idea: Let us all call one another by our rightful names without resorting to the use of colorful, and often offensive, characterizations. I'm certainly not in favor of official speech codes or suppression of language. Rather, I'm hoping that each of us will agree to attempt to control our use of careless language, especially in the workplace. One man's metaphor can be another's intimidation. As every big-city mayor learns, loose language can be as costly as it is dangerous.
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NEWS
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.
NEWS
February 23, 2006 | By Patrick Kerkstra INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
February 25, 2004 | By James M. O'Neill INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
April 24, 2003 | By James M. O'Neill INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
October 4, 2002 | By DAHLIA LITHWICK
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.
NEWS
June 3, 1999 | by Jeffrey Rosen
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.
NEWS
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?
NEWS
October 16, 1998 | By David Boldt
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.
NEWS
November 10, 1995 | By Ty Tagami, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
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.
NEWS
February 28, 1995 | By Burton Caine
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.
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