TEACHERS, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE? ON FREE SPEECH AND SHOUTING FIERY EPITHETS IN A CROWDED DORMITORY[dagger]

By Press, Joshua S. | Northwestern University Law Review, January 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

TEACHERS, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE? ON FREE SPEECH AND SHOUTING FIERY EPITHETS IN A CROWDED DORMITORY[dagger]


Press, Joshua S., Northwestern University Law Review


Plainly . . . no mandate in our Constitution leaves States and governmental units powerless to pass laws to protect the public from the kind of boisterous and threatening conduct that disturbs the tranquility of spots selected by the people either for homes, wherein they can escape the hurly-burly of the outside business and political world, or for public and other buildings that require peace and quiet to carry out their Junctions, such as courts, libraries, schools, and hospitals.[double dagger]

INTRODUCTION

For almost twenty years,1 society and the courts have struggled to harmonize the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause2 and the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause.3 The tension between these two clauses has preoccupied the bench, legal thinkers, and ordinary citizens alike. But rarely do these two dictates conflict more than in the context of "hate speech," or antilocution regulation,4 and universities' antiharassment policies,3 or-as they are more disparagingly known-"campus speech codes."6

Defenders of these policies argue that proscribing antilocution protects everyone against threats, intimidation, and harassment.7 Opposing groups argue that government should never regulate the expression of unpopular or disfavored ideas.8 From cross burning9 and hanging nooses,10 to Nazi demonstrations" and offensive protests at military funerals,12 the First Amendment assigns to American governments a difficult task: to tolerate intolerance.13 Yet despite the fact that courts have almost universally rejected campus speech policies for violating this command,14 many universities continue to implement them.15

Regrettably, altercations and threats made from discriminatory animus continue to occur on college campuses today. For example, on October 14, 2005, students held a "straight thuggin'" party in a University of Chicago residence hall16 that outraged minority student groups and the local community.17 Such stereotype-themed parties are increasingly common in university life;18 they often feature students dressed as caricatures of minorities, sometimes in blackface,19 or even as Ku Klux Klan members with nooses.20 In early October 2006, three students at Texas A&M University posted a video online with one student acting as a slave master and another in blackface "chomping a banana and begging mercy from his 'master.'"21 On July 15, 2007, and in early August of that year, more threatening expression was used when nooses were found by a Black22 cadet and a white female officer at the Coast Guard Academy, respectively.23 A parallel event occurred on September 6, 2007, when someone hung a noose in a tree close to a University of Maryland cultural center where several Black student groups were housed.24 Similarly, on October 11, 2007, "a swastika and a caricature of a man wearing a yarmulke" were drawn on a bathroom stall door at Columbia University.25 Such racial tension turned into violence on January 24, 2007, when three Palestinian college students were allegedly attacked and made "targets of ethnic slurs" as they attempted to leave their dormitory at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.26 These events provide a stark reminder of why many university speech policies persist. Several legal groups, however, have targeted college antilocution policies, arguing that they are unconstitutional "speech codes" because they typically disfavor racist, sexist, or even religious forms of speech.27

But despite these groups' fear that such policies represent governmental attempts to control or favor certain political ideas in public debate,28 most antilocution policies in the limited context of college dormitories should be considered constitutionally permissible. Unlike broader speech codes, dormitory policies should not be viewed as attempts to control students' thought or censor merely "offensive speech."29 Instead, these policies encourage and allow students of all backgrounds to attend universities by attempting to create a safe, calm, and hospitable living environment that is conducive to learning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

TEACHERS, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE? ON FREE SPEECH AND SHOUTING FIERY EPITHETS IN A CROWDED DORMITORY[dagger]
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.