Another university limits students’ freedom of speech

Silence, Free Speech, 1st Amendment
Silence, Free Speech, 1st Amendment

One of the freedoms that characterizes the U.S. is that people can express themselves freely without interference or constraint. However, some colleges and universities are controlling the language used by their students ignoring the First Amendment, that guarantees the freedom of speech. James Madison University recently distributed to its student leaders a list of 35 phrases that students should avoid.

The list includes expression such as:

1.“Some of my best friends are …”

2. “I know exactly how you feel.”

4. “The same thing happens to me too.”

5. “It was only a joke! Don’t take things so seriously.”

7. “What are you?” or “Where are you really from?”

10. “It is so much better than it used to be. Just be patient.”

15. “You have such a pretty face.”

16. “I never owned slaves.”

22. When people of faith say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

23. When white men say, “We are the ones being discriminated against now!”

31. “I don’t see the difference. We are all part of the same race, the human race.”

35. “Here’s another book on political correctness.”

The university argues that the purpose of the handout is to make minorities feel included and safe by stopping the use of expressions that could make them “feel invisible and diminish their life experiences” and shut them down, widening the diversity gap.

James Madison University’s director of communications Bill Wyatt told The College Fix … that “this was just an exercise, prior to orientation, to get our volunteers to understand how language affects others. The list was not distributed to our first-year students nor were the volunteers instructed not to use the phrases.”

However, the handout reads that:

“[Orientation leaders should] use this handout as a resource” to help … creating a “safe and inclusive environment for your first-year students.”

Check the full list and decide whether James Madison University is stepping over the line and should stop controlling its students’ speech.

Read more at The College Fix.

Photo credit CRASHCandy

Maria Robles is a recent graduate from New Jersey City University. She believes that everyone should be informed about current issues affecting our society.