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Iowa State Accused of Chilling Student Free Speech Ahead of Caucuses

Iowa State Accused of Chilling Student Free Speech Ahead of Caucuses

“Iowa State University maintains a series of policies that have both the purpose and the effect of chilling student speech”

The free speech advocacy group “Speech First” is launching a lawsuit over this.

Campus Reform reports:

LAWSUIT: Free speech org says Iowa State is ‘chilling’ political speech ahead of caucuses

The nonprofit student free speech advocacy group Speech First announced Thursday that it is suing Iowa State University in an effort to “help restore free speech and expression to America’s universities.”

The group cites three specific policies that it claims are an active threat to the free expression rights of Iowa State students, including a chalking ban, a “Campus Climate Reporting System,” and a rule that bars students from sending emails having to do with political campaigns or elections.

Speech First asserts that by enforcing this group of policies, the university “has created an elaborate investigative and enforcement regime designed to chill speech concerning political and social issues of public concern.”

“Iowa State University maintains a series of policies that have both the purpose and the effect of chilling student speech,” said Speech First President and Founder of Nicole Neily. “One month out from a major political primary, students have been significantly – and unconstitutionally – burdened from participating in the political process.”

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Comments

Great reporting!! [sarc] What the $%$ is a “Campus Climate Reporting System” and how does it restrict free speech?

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | January 8, 2020 at 9:33 am

Iowa has long been a leader in repressing things……

This sounds like something that tops the craziness in the “free speech” issue in Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College matter. In the Oberlin instance, there was free speech running rampant in the form of blatant slander, whereas in the Iowa State matter the students appear to have a legitimate beef. Interestingly, both Iowa and Oberlin are using the phrase “chilling free speech” even though the two situations are polar opposites.

The solution in both cases is to say that students, faculty, and administrators can say anything they want as long as they make it clear that they are speaking in the capacity of individuals and they don’t use university resources such as university email accounts without a disclaimer that protects the university. Oberlin did not do this. Oberlin walked into the courthouse wearing a “kick me” sign, and the court did just that.

In short, there must be policies and procedures in place for committing the university to an official position, and that prevents people from shoving words into the university’s mouth without its consent. Then say whatever you want.

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