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DeJohn Case Cited Once Again As Important Speech Code Precedent | David Hacker at Speak Up Movement Blog
David Hacker at the Speak Up Movement University Blog: Last month, the California Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on Equal Educational Opportunity and Free Speech on Public College and University Campuses in California. The focus of the report was whether harassment policies at these institutions intrude too much on student free speech. As we’ve written about before on these pages, overbroad and vague harassment policies are major contributors to the national speech code problem. Alliance Defending Freedom has represented students who challenged these policies in California (multiple times), Washington, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
ADF Attorney Joe Martins writing at Speak Up Movement / University: “One of the key indicators of a speech code is that it regulates speech based on its subjective effects on others. So if your university has a policy that punishes speech because of how it makes someone feel, it’s probably a speech code. The classic example of this is the policy prohibiting ‘unwelcome,’ ‘demeaning,’ or ‘discriminatory’ ‘verbal comments or statements that create an ‘intimidating,’ ‘hostile,’ or ‘offensive’ academic environment based on some protected category (i.e. race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.). The ADF Center for Academic Freedom successfully struck down such a policy at Temple University and pressured Shippensburg University to change a similar policy.”
ADF Attorney David French writing at NRO Phi Beta Cons: “Working with the Leadership Institute and Young America’s Foundation — two groups fighting the good fight on college campuses — the Alliance Defense Fund and its allied attorneys are taking the fight one step farther: sending letters on behalf of students at five public universities in the Third Circuit requesting that they comply with the law.”
Evangelical Examiner: “According to the Alliance Defense Fund, on behalf of students at five universities and colleges in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, they have sent letters today to inform the schools of the need to revise restrictive ‘speech codes’ on their books that do not comport with a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. . . . ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said: ‘The 3rd Circuit has ruled that the kinds of ‘speech codes’ we see at these universities are unconstitutional primarily because they give officials an easy-to-abuse enforcement mechanism to punish any speech that they may decide is “offensive.” These policies need to be revised to respect student free speech rights that are protected by the First Amendment.’”
ADF Attorney Casey Mattox writing at the Academic Freedom File: “With two years distance from the DeJohn decision, however, public universities across New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania continue to hold on to egregiously unconstitutional speech codes that use much of the same language rejected in Saxe and DeJohn and inhibit expression and skew debate on campus by placing students at risk of substantial punishment if someone claims offense at what they say. . . . Research by ADF allied attorneys shows a host of schools in the Third Circuit that retain egregiously unconstitutional speech codes despite clear precedent in the Third Circuit.”
ADF to five universities: ‘Speech codes’ give officials too much latitude to define ‘offensive’ conduct
On behalf of students at five universities and colleges in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Alliance Defense Fund sent letters Thursday to inform the schools of the need to revise restrictive “speech codes” on their books that do not comport with a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
Mike Adams writing at Townhall: “I’m glad I live in the United States of America, where such a trial would be prohibited by the First Amendment. I’m also glad I don’t teach at Temple University in Philadelphia, where students now have to pay an unconstitutional after-the-fact security fee levied by the university . . . Two years ago, Temple’s speech code was struck down by the Third Circuit. That lawsuit was handled by my friends at the Alliance Defense Fund. If the university does not begin to respect the First Amendment, additional humiliation and litigation are certain to follow.”
David French, Director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, writing at National Review’s Phi Beta Cons blog: “Over the past several weeks, defenders of academic freedom have been in an uproar over Harvard Law Review’s unsigned student comment defending speech codes and criticizing the Third Circuit’s landmark decision in DeJohn v. Temple University.”
Philadephia Bulletin: Christian DeJohn, the winner of a monumental First Amendment case against the university, was back in federal court Thursday asserting Temple’s obligation to pay about $83,000 in earlier court expenses . . . David French . . . countered that the case lasted as long as it did because the university made strenuous efforts to prevent it from proceeding.
Not only is the Third Circuit’s ruling in DeJohn not “activist,” it is not political, as some have charged. DeJohn is squarely in line with 50 years of Supreme Court decisions placing special emphasis on the importance of free speech in higher education
Higher-education lawyers who have spent the week parsing Monday’s appeals-court ruling in a Temple University free-speech case say the decision may make it harder for colleges to prohibit discrimination and harassment while promoting the open exchange of ideas.
At 2:30 PM Arizona time, ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson will debate Tempe University professor Dr. Mark Lamont Hill on the Fox News Channel about the recent win at the 3rd Circuit regarding Temple’s speech code.
Attorney David Hacker is with the Alliance Defense Fund. He says DeJohn knew about Temple’s ‘Speech Code,’ which, he says, “is a harassment policy that is so vaguely worded and so broad in its language that, really, university administrators were able to punish any sort of speech that they deemed offensive.
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom has this post discussing its recent victory against Temple University’s speech code. Related: 3rd Circuit upholds ruling against Temple University “speech code” Temple: Another Court Decision Striking Down a Campus Speech Code
Eugene Volokh has this post on the Volokh Conspiracy discussing yesterday’s 3rd Circuit ruling that upheld a lower court ruling which struck down Temple University’s speech code. Related ADF press release: 3rd Circuit upholds ruling against Temple University “speech code.” …