A federal magistrate Oct. 31 said he will temporarily bar San FranciscoState University and the 22 other California State University system campusesfrom enforcing certain provisions of the student conduct code that he ruledcould be used to punish students for Constitutionally protected speech.
The College Republicans of San Francisco State challenged the policies in alawsuit. Members of the group were investigated by the school for incitingviolence, creating a hostile environment and engaging in “actions of incivility”stemming from an incident in which members stepped on Hamas and Hezbollah flagsduring an anti-terrorism rally. The allegations against the group were found tohave no merit and the group members allege that the six-month investigation,which was prompted by a student complaint, chilled their speech.
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SPLC View: The quixotic quest for the perfect — and constitutional– campus speech code continues. Despite courts having struck down every attemptby school officials to require that their students be “civil” to one another,administrators keep trying. The reality is that in a free society, the statedoes not and should not have the authority to mandate niceness. Sometimesspeech, if it is to have an impact, must address topics or be conveyed in a waythat makes others uncomfortable. Indeed, if we truly believe in the ideas thatbegat the First Amendment, that is the precise speech that you must protect.After all, you don’t need to protect speech that makes everyone feel good.