• May 4, 2015

Editorial: Evaluate free speech - The Breeze: Opinion

Editorial: Evaluate free speech

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Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 7:25 pm, Wed Feb 2, 2011.

The University of Virginia was recently green-lighted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, reflecting the university's improved free speech policy reform. The reformed policies include the removal of policies that allowed unwanted or unreciprocated flirting to be construed as sexual harassment.

Our own university is rated yellow by FIRE, indicating that some of our policies are potential threats to free speech. These flagged policies include limiting speech that can be "reasonably anticipated to provoke a violent reaction," the required registration of peaceful assemblies with the Madison Union scheduling 48 hours in advance, the banning of posters that mention or represent drugs or alcohol, and the requirement that all posters be in good taste.

While these policies seem reasonable, it isn't difficult to imagine how these vaguely worded policies could easily be applied to almost any form of speech that the administration deems unfavorable.

In the past, the administration has seemed happy to ignore these rules, disregarding the situations that could fall under a policy if construed correctly. What, though, will happen when the current administration inevitably turns over? How will these rules be applied then? Better to remove or reform the policies to make them immune to abuse to make JMU a green-rated school.