FIRE Gives UNH “Green Light” for Free Speech (Say What!)

Diversity Speech policeGreg Moore took me by surprise with a tweet about how the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) had given UNH it’s highest rating for free speech.

Say what?

I’m as surprised as anyone, more so because two weeks ago I took the State’s University system to task for a newly adopted unenforceable Social media Policy, which professor and UNH State Senate Faculty Chair (and State Senator) Dan Innis rightly opposed.

“I’m opposed to a social media policy. I’m not opposed to social media suggestions, but I am opposed to a social media policy. It’s overregulation,” Innis told the campus newspaper in October 2017. “It’s not enforceable, and secondly, we have no business in that area. To me, it’s speech, and it’s protected by the First Amendment.”

The policy presumes to allow students who are easily offended to act as watchdogs but don’t you worry about that first amendment.

“The University recognizes that social media behavior is entitled to extensive protections under the First Amendment. The University guarantees and protects the speech rights of students. This policy will be interpreted with those protections in mind,” it states.

Just don’t Intentionally inflict emotional distress on others. Yes, that’s in the policy. And this is how it all goes down.

  1. Any faculty, staff or student may complain in writing to the Dean of Students, Director of Community Standards or their designee about a student’s use of social media. Complaints may also be submitted to the Director of Affirmative Action and Equity through ReportIt.

If they think the claim has merit The Dean of Students, Director of Community Standards and or Director of Affirmative Action & Equity (or designees) may have a conversation with the alleged offender. That is followed by an investigation and further action if warranted, including re-education camp, which is my catch-all for mandatory sensitivity or diversity training.

Don’t use these words in this order and so on. And if you think it’s funny, it probably hurts someone else’s feelings. But hey!, we’re all about protecting your extensive First Amendment rights.

The University system will protect speech rights with exceptions that violate your first amendment rights.

I wonder if you can post this on Facebook?

“Two snowflakes walk into a social media comment they deem insensitive…”

They share it (in violation of the policy?), and two snowflakes become a nor’easter. The next thing you know we have a campus riot over a student in a sombrero. True story, more or less. And that’s the problem. Cultural Marxism is not just in the curriculum; there is an entire portion of the University dedicated to serving its ends, and a majority of its professors are probably in love with that.

To borrow from Andrew Breitbart, Free Speech is downstream from campus culture. The University takes money from students and sells some of them “an education” that makes them intolerant.

Free Speech can’t even breathe in that environment let alone exercise. The risk the policy presents has already silenced speech, which is the point.

As for FIRE, they can only act on what is objectively available, and yes, UNH has gone ‘the extra mile’ to add words to their policies that when put together state that the first amendment matters and will be honored. UNH doesn’t have sanctioned free speech zones. They say they do not prohibit expression anywhere on campus. All in all, it is a huge improvement, at least on paper. And it is certainly objectively better than a lot of campuses.

For that, UNH gets a green light. And they should be commended. But don’t get carried away.

Free speech and cultural Marxism can’t exist together. And the Social Justice education infrastructure is incapable of letting speech it deems offensive go unpunished.

While some of the students know they can’t exist together many will get caught in a trap thinking they have protections that might keep them from official discipline but won’t protect them from the progressive bullies (students and teachers alike) who will make their lives miserable with little fear of meaningful action by administrators wielding words about first amendment protections.

There can be no true free speech in such an environment, which again is exactly the point.