A resolution asserting the guarantees of the First Amendment has been rejected at Tufts University for being “unsafe.”
Saying that so-called “hate speech” is just too hurtful to students, the student government voted down an effort to end campus anti-free speech rules at the Massachusetts school.
Those rules ban speech that contain “use of nicknames,” “hurtful words,” “bias-fueled jokes,” “comments on an individual’s body or appearance,” “innuendos of a sexual nature,” “gender bias,” and dozens more supposed offenses, The College Fix is reporting.
The vote, 26-0 with two abstentions, rejects a proposal that would declare the First Amendment is absolute, affirming that administrators should continue to allow students to be punished for exercising their free speech rights.
“I believe everyone’s right to access their education on this campus is more important than abolishing the protective restrictions we have on free speech,” Student Senator Olivia Dehm declared after the vote. The long video of the meeting and the vote are posted on their Facebook page. (It’s interesting and ironic to watch the democratic adoption of such Orwellian measures under the guise of democracy.)
Student Jake Goldberg submitted the resolutioncalling for an end to the restrictions. The campus already has a “red light” rating by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, meaning it is one of the worst campuses in the country when it comes to suppressing free speech.
Prior to the vote, Goldberg tried to sway his peers to support unabridged free speech on campus.
“We just want to make sure these [vague administrative] policies are cleaned up, better defined, and use language that’s easy to understand,” he said.
Goldberg added that, without the measure passing, administrators can unfairly punish students for exercising their First Amendment rights.
But nearly every single senator voiced opposition to the measure.
Senate President Gauri Seth scolded Goldberg for the resolution: “I think clarity in itself is subjective so I don’t really know what we’re voting on, which is why I oppose this resolution…I just don’t think [the resolution] protects students in the way that it should. I think that actually really harms students.”
Another student senator, Nesi Altarus, said that “50 percent of students on this campus are not from America, and there are other countries with free speech issues, and some countries handle them better than America. I think saying First Amendment rights, best kind of rights, is not okay.”
The school defended their anti-free-speech policy, inaccurately stating it “complies with state and federal requirements.” It doesn’t, and free speech restrictions on college campuses have been summarily rejected by the Supreme Court.
If you have a very delicate, very fragile student who is offended by “nicknames” or “bias-fueled jokes,” then Tufts is the place to send your kid.
However, if you want a school that teaches the First Amendment as it was intended, I’d look elsewhere to send your tuition money, and your kids.