Student speech codes: A year+ in review

December 29, 2010

By J. DeVoy

Greg Lukianoff and Azhar Majeed of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently compiled two years’ worth of academic publications mad possible through FIRE’s Jackson Legal Fellowship.  If you’re in a position to make end-of-year donations, you may do so here.  FIRE is on the list of Satyriconista charities.

[N.B., the following article descriptions were written by FIRE.]

The Misapplication of Peer Harassment Law on College and University Campuses and the Loss of Student Speech Rights,” by Azhar Majeed
Published May 2009, The Journal of College and University Law (Notre Dame Law School)
This article argues that colleges and universities often misapply sexual and racial harassment law to the detriment of campus speech rights, and that in doing so they are misreading their obligations under Title IX and Title VI to prevent true harassment of students.

Defying the Constitution: The Rise, Persistence, and Prevalence of Campus Speech Codes,” by Azhar Majeed
Published November 2009, Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy
This article argues that campus speech codes violate the free speech rights of university students, and that in spite of having been deemed unconstitutional by an unbroken series of court decisions, colleges and universities continue to maintain doctrinally flawed speech codes.

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is: The Case for Denying Qualified Immunity to University Administrators for Violating Students’ Speech Rights,” by Azhar Majeed Published October 2010, Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal
This article argues that courts should not grant qualified immunity to university administrators when they are sued for monetary damages in their personal capacity for violating students’ free speech rights because the law is so clearly established with respect to First Amendment rights on campus.

The Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Resolving the Federal Circuit Split over College Students’ Free Speech Rights,” by Kelly Sarabyn
Published April 2009, Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights (University of Texas at Austin)
This article examines the history of the 26th Amendment and demonstrates that it was intended to make 18-year-olds full-fledged citizens, and therefore to end the in loco parentis university. It also argues that since most college students are 18 or older, and most high school students are under 18, the 26th Amendment produces a clear line between the two institutions, and dictates that college students cannot be treated like high school students for the purpose of free speech.

Free Speech at Private Universities,” by Kelly Sarabyn
Published April 2010, Journal of Law and Education (University of South Carolina Law Center and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law University of Louisville)

Many private universities promise free speech for students and faculty, but then have fine print policies proscribing offensive or harassing speech. This article argues that when such conflicting policies or promises exist, courts should enforce the promises private universities make in light of the reasonable expectations of the student. At liberal arts and research universities, students would reasonably expect to have free speech on campus, and thus the contracts should be interpreted accordingly. This allows private universities to proscribe speech if they wish, and thus respects the right of private association, but it allows universities to do this only if they do so clearly and publicly.

Prescribing Orthodoxy,” by Kelly Sarabyn
Published June 2010, Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal

This article studies the right to freedom of conscience as it manifests itself in various constitutional doctrines and demonstrates how this right against governmental orthodoxy prohibits colleges from implementing programs that seek to mold students’ ideological beliefs with coercion.

Measuring a Degree of Deference: Institutional Academic Freedom in a Post-Grutter World,” by Erica Goldberg and Kelly Sarabyn
Published November 2010, Santa Clara Law Review (Santa Clara University School of Law)
By resolving the ambiguities presented by the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, this article establishes a framework for affording institutions deference for their decision-making. Institutions may invoke academic freedom only for decisions that are truly academic and do not trample upon the First Amendment rights of students and faculty, and should receive different amounts of deference depending on what body within the institution is making the academic decision at issue.

“Must Universities ‘Subsidize’ Controversial Ideas?: Allocating Security Fees When Student Groups Host Divisive Speakers,” by Erica Goldberg
Accepted for publication as lead article, George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal
This article creates viewpoint neutral rules to govern the assessment of security fees so as not to punish student groups who wish to sponsor a controversial speaker’s visit to campus.

All of these articles can be read at FIRE’s online publication The Lantern.


Weekend reading – Valentine’s Day (“VD”) edition

February 13, 2010

By J. DeVoy

As VD approaches, love is all around us.  The international community has come together in Vancouver to indulge its holding-hands-and-singing-kumbaya fantasy of global cooperation, and betas everywhere are casting their lots with flowers, chocolates and fancy dinners to get women – any woman – to commit to them.  Some of these items, however, may preserve your sanity.

The Weekly Standard points out that dating sucks, offering commentary on various issues that have been raised previously on this blog.  It’s a huge, sprawling piece at 12 pages, but well done – and written by a woman, no less, removing the stench of bitterness that would accompany male authorship of such an article.

New York Gov. David Paterson sucks at handling sex scandals, or at least Ferdinand Bardamu thinks so.  Indeed, Paterson’s desperate peal for understanding is far from Clintonesque.  Amateurs should stick to the basics: 1) admit nothing, 2) deny everything, and 3) make counter-accusations.

The Fourth Circuit shows some love to military contractor DynCorp, vacating a $10 million punitive damages judgment against it.  Apparently punitive damages for tortious interference with contract are capped at $350,000 in Virginia.  Still, for being found liable, that’s not a bad deal for DynCorp.

Senator Harry Reid whines about the ABA’s favorable ratings for nominated judges who have experience, as opposed to those with none.  Telling the ABA to “get a new life,” a statement many would otherwise agree with, Reid chides Supreme Court justices as well, calling them “people who have never seen the outside world.”  This dearth of real-world experience is precisely why John Roberts was a partner at Hogan & Hartson, leading up its appellate practice before being placed on the bench, while Reid has been leeching off taxpayers in elected positions since 1968 – when Roberts was only 13 years old.

Finally, someone in Seattle decidedly is not feeling the love.  Five or six sea lions have been shot to death in the Seattle area, including one on the Federal Endangered Species list.  While shooting a sea lion is almost always illegal, this probably wouldn’t have happened if they were cute.

"At least it wasn't me!"



The Blog Loot!

October 25, 2008

Zac Papantoniou's Blog Loot!

Zac Papantoniou's Blog Loot!

Editorial and Comments by Zac “Rediculous” Papantoniou

The “Blog Loot” is a new, weekly post, here on the Legal Satyricon. Essentially, it’s showing a little love to the blogs that make up our list of “Recommended Blogs” by running around to our favorite blogs and looting them of some of their more interesting recent content.

1. Someone call Gil Grissom… Maryland criminal defense attorney/blawger Jon Katz, of the Underdog Blog, asks (and attempts to answer) an age-old question of law, ”Should fingerprint evidence be banned from court?”

[Props to the Underdog Blog]

2. A Jacksonville, FL, church attempted to redefine their “fire and brimstone” Sunday-sermon… “Members of Christ Church Anglican . . . gathered [last] Sunday for an unusual religious ceremony that involved torching X-rated old movies in a fire pit…”

[Props to Cary Wiggins, over at “Meeting the Sin Laws”]

3. A new look for the Pepsi brand, or just a clever way for the illiterate to understand which beverage they’re drinking? (Here’s a clue… look closely at the logos on the bottles)

[Props to Marty at The Trademark Blog]

4. I’m pretty certain this is what Ben Franklin was referring to when he wrote, “[T]hose who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

[Props to Andrew J. Contiguglia at Contiguglia’s Entertainment Law Blog]

5. Do plants feel pain? Ok, so it’s a little left of legal quandaries, but with all the seriousness going on over at the Legal Satyricon, somebody had to make a ridiculous post. Lucky for you, “ridiculous” is my middle name, because this post sounds like a topic best contemplated, when one is in a relaxed state of mind… Ann Althouse brought up the topic, for her readers, to ponder on a bit.

[Props to Ann Althouse at her blawg Althouse]