Keene State College: Unconstitutional Speech Code
- Speech Code of the Month: Keene State College
November 2, 2009
by Samantha Harris
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2009: Keene State College in New Hampshire.
Keene State's "Statement on Sexist Language," found in the college's Student Handbook, states that "Keene State College will not tolerate language that is sexist and promotes negative stereotypes and demeans members of our community." Keene State is a public university, legally bound to uphold the guarantees of the First Amendment, yet this policy blatantly prohibits constitutionally protected speech. Not only does it prohibit protected speech, but it also leaves a great deal of what we would call core protected expression—that is, the kind of political and social commentary at the heart of the First Amendment—vulnerable to punishment.
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