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College students unclear about Free Speech - FIRE

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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28 July 2019 09:42
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 09:40 AM

So then do universities, and other private institutions, do have a justification for restricting some kinds of speech acts that fall short of the imminent threat threshold?

If I’m following you, then I’d say that “disruption of others speech” isn’t really another form of speech, it should be classified as “disruption”.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 09:48
 

So now there is a “causing disruption” criterion in addition to the imminent threat one?

You still haven’t responded to what range of speech acts you’ve considered in this discussion.

[ Edited: 28 July 2019 09:52 by mapadofu]
 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 09:53
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 09:48 AM

So now there is a “causing disruption” criterion in addition to the imminent threat one?

I don’t think I’m adding something new here. A disrupter is abridging the listeners’ right to hear what’s being said.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 09:58
 

Isn’t that person’s freedom of speech being restricted if the university takes actions to prevent or punish that behavior?

 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 10:17
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 09:58 AM

Isn’t that person’s freedom of speech being restricted if the university takes actions to prevent or punish that behavior?

By “that person” I assume you mean the disrupter? No, disruption of other people’s speech is not protected. The disrupter is free to go across the street and criticize as much as they want to, with the same limits of imminent violence.

map - I see what you’re trying to do hear, but IMO you’re making a category error. I believe that the other liberty in play here is the right to assembly. So we have the right to assemble and speak and listen. The disrupter is attempting to abridge those rights, and such disruption is not considered speech.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 10:22
 

It is not obvious to me that such disruption is not speech.  The literal state of affairs is that the person is speaking.  So there must be something beyond opening your mouth and having words come out behind what constitutes speech for this area of discussion.  Can you clarify when speaking constitutes speech that falls under the rubric of freedom of speech and when speaking is no longer speech but instead disruption?

[ Edited: 28 July 2019 10:28 by mapadofu]
 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 10:27
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 10:22 AM

It is not obvious to me that such disruption is not speech.  The literal state of affairs is that the person is speaking.  Can you clarify when speaking constitutes speech that falls under the rubric of freedom of speech and when speaking is no longer speech but instead disruption?

It seems pretty black and white to me, as long as you remember that free speech includes the freedom to listen. The moment the disrupter is abridging the listeners’ rights, the disrupter is no longer behaving in a protected manner.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 10:30
 

ok, so what kinds of policies should a university adopt in order to respect these multiple competing considerations?

 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 10:38
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 10:30 AM

ok, so what kinds of policies should a university adopt in order to respect these multiple competing considerations?

I believe that the normal policy is that if an established student group invites a speaker, the speaker should be given a platform. Disrupters are allowed to protest “from across the street”, basically meaning in any way that does not abridge the listeners’ right to assemble and listen.

So it might be - for example - that a Jewish student group wants to invite a pro-Israel speaker to speak. No doubt, BDSers would want to protest against such a speaker, but their protests should not be allowed to disrupt the speaker. But civilized Q and A’s could be allowed - for example.

 
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 10:43
 

What about a Charlotte style white-supremacist event with racial invectives and whatnot?

 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 10:51
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 10:43 AM

What about a Charlotte style white-supremacist event with racial invectives and whatnot?

It’s often not easy to support free speech and assembly. But if a city offers a venue for speech givers then they have to allow repugnant speakers as well. As long as the imminent violence limitations are followed. Such events are expensive to police, but stifling speech is a far worse outcome.

 
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 10:59
 

We’re not talking about a city, we’re talking about a university.  Universities should have no recourse to exclude self-admitted racists?

 
icehorse
 
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28 July 2019 11:07
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 10:59 AM

We’re not talking about a city, we’re talking about a university.  Universities should have no recourse to exclude self-admitted racists?

Again, as I understand it, the normal policy is that a speaker has to be invited by an established student group. For example, Charles Murray might be invited to speak by a group that wants students to hear about controversial topics.

The idea is that a college or university is a place where students are taught how to think - and that includes listening to, and thinking about abhorrent ideas.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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28 July 2019 11:18
 

As long as the rally is hosted by an on campus group, then no recourse?

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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28 July 2019 11:40
 
mapadofu - 28 July 2019 10:30 AM

ok, so what kinds of policies should a university adopt in order to respect these multiple competing considerations?

This is where trioon’s Malarkey Scale would come in handy. A university could insist, without offending any group, that any speaker demonstrate a capacity for four continuous steps of reasoning in the context of their topic. I’ve never heard a abhorationist of any stripe who didn’t blow a brain gasket trying to reach three.

Candidates would start by declaring their basic reasonable position. They would then be given a “yes, but…” followed by a thoughtful inquiry. If the inquiry is accommodated while staying true to the context of the first step, another “Yes, but…” is earned. If a candidate can pass four “Yes, but’s… ” without undermining their original position, appealing to authority or threatening violence, they’re in.

 
 
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