Long Island University Post (LIU) has this policy. It’s called Respect for Authority. You can be (arbitrarily) investigated for saying or writing things about those in power. It reminded me of our own New Hampshire Democrats and their cyberstalking public official’s bill.
The LIU policy is probably not invoked unless the student in question can offer an abject lesson to others. The same rule would apply to HB1159, the proposed cyberbullying, and cyberstalking legislation. A mess of a bill that is a carve-out for snowflake legislators and local officials who don’t want to be criticized on Facebook and Twitter (or this blog).
It is a “Respect for Authority” Rule, and they will decide what is and is not respectful.
In the LIU case, the accused student was notified that he was being investigated but never updated on the results. The university used the process to intimidate his speech without due process or resolution. No one with two brain cells and even the shakiest understanding of free speech or the First amendment should think HB1159 would function any differently.
The mere existence of such a bill is a warning to anyone who would dare to take issue with anything any public person said on any public page where they might engage in conversation.
The bill, if it were to become law is not meant to serve as a safety net for any public official whose interactions were truly outside the protections of the First Amendment. We already have rules for that. This is a threat that chills debate or ends it should the ‘public official’ infer your conversation has made them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
No discomfort or threat required. Venture forward at your own risk.
Would it surprise you to learn that there are other bills, with at least one common sponsor that would limit access to public records? One would require you to identify the sort of document that contains the information you seek (as if public servants subvert your will – or the law – in a predictably documented manner). The other will force you to pay for costs if your requests use up too much of their time in pursuit of answers to your questions.
There is no parallel restriction on the incompetence, malfeasance, misfeasance, skullduggery, or other acts by public officials that then require these right to know requests to uncover hidden facts or truth about what they are doing in your name with your money.
Whatever happens, do not complain to them about it on the internet. They’ve got a bill for that as well.
Now, neither of these should survive their committees or floor votes in the House or Senate or the Republican governor’s veto pen. But then, neither should they exist in any Constitutional Republic where public officials answer to the people and not the other way around. But it’s not a total loss. We’ll get to see who supports them and that’s worth something.