Posted by Ditto on 22 May, 2013 at 10:26 am. 5 comments already!



‘Marsupial Justice’ Is a Natural Product of Federal Overreach:

“Earlier this month I blogged about the U.S. Department of Education’s recent push to eliminate free speech and due process on campus. More and more people are starting to notice this attempt by the department’s Office of Civil Rights to force colleges — by threatening an investigation and loss of federal funds — to redefine sexual harrassment to include unwelcome flirting and sex jokes and then lower the burden of proof they use when determining whether students or staff are guilty of violating the new code of behavior….”

“…What is the Department of Education doing setting any sort of standards for speech, conduct, and adjudication of campus disputes — good or bad, strict or lax? Why do we even have a federal Department of Education in the first place?”

Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide:

In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to order that nearly every college and university in the United States, public and private, establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.

UPDATE 5/17/13: FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, in The Wall Street Journal’s lead op-ed space, discusses how the government has mandated a breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every student in the United States a harasser, completely ignoring the First Amendment.

The Wall Street Journal’s Lukianoff tells about the problems in the “new standards” letter that has been sent to universities:

Given that the letter represents an interpretation of federal law by major federal agencies, most colleges will regard it as binding. Noncompliance threatens federal funding, including Pell grants and Stafford loans.

The implications for professors and students are enormous. An unsuccessful request for a date, or even assigning a potentially offensive book like “Lolita,” could now be construed as harassment. As attorney and civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer commented on The Atlantic’s website this week: “The stated goal of this policy is stemming discrimination, but the inevitable result will be advancing it, in the form of content-based prohibitions on speech.”

This attack on campus free speech follows the Education Department’s directive two years ago requiring every college in the country that receives federal funds to lower the standard of evidence in sexual-harassment cases. The “preponderance of the evidence,” the judiciary’s lowest standard of proof, became the required standard. (Many institutions had previously used the “clear and convincing” standard.) As former Dean of Harvard CollegeHarry Lewis has noted, the “preponderance of evidence” mandate means “more convictions—of both guilty and innocent individuals,” which is a troubling result “in a society that values individual rights.”

Last week’s letter is part of a decades-long effort by anti-“hate speech” professors, students, activists and administrators to classify any offensive speech as harassment unprotected by the First Amendment. Such speech codes reached their height in the 1980s and 1990s, but they were defeated in federal and state court and came in for public ridicule.

Are there any Constitutional rights left that the Obama administration hasn’t infringed on?

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