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Would filtering the Internet at public colleges and universities violate the First Amendment?
 
Don't certain kinds of harsh or insensitive speech tend to silence others' free expression, thereby working against the free exchange of ideas?
 
Can't a public college stadium prohibit fan profanity because there are kids in the stands?
 
May I hand out election-campaign literature on public land?
 
Why shouldn't public colleges be allowed some say in the type of research done by their professors or the funding sources if a line of inquiry might negatively affect the school?
 
What is academic freedom?
 
Is academic freedom limited to professors?
 
As long as they don't discriminate against certain speakers or messages, what's wrong with campus free-speech zones?
 
What about independent student newspapers or fliers? Can schools control their distribution?
 
Are college journalists entitled to all the same liberties as professional journalists?
 
How independent are public college/university-operated electronic media?
 
What if other students try to prevent distribution of student publications that they find offensive?
 
Are public colleges permitted to put any restrictions on the student groups that they will recognize? What if activities advocated by a group are illegal?
 
Can a college student invoke his or her religious beliefs to avoid engaging in an objectionable type of artistic expression?
 
A college professor makes references to materials of a sexual nature during his lecture. Could he be disciplined for such comments or is this protected speech?
 
Can people who oppose a speaker's message use their 'freedom of speech' to drown out the offending words?
 
 

This is called a “heckler’s veto.” The problem with it is that, far from advancing understanding, it inhibits it. Freedom of speech was guaranteed in the First Amendment so that a full range of ideas would be available on matters of public interest. The Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment as it pertains to public college campuses over the past 80-90 years is derived in part from J.S. Mill’s essay, “On Liberty,” in which he asserted that:

“… the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

Students are not allowed to drown out the lectures of a professor in the classroom without disciplinary action because doing so disrupts the school’s academic purpose. Guest speakers are allowed on campus in order to offer different and broader perspectives, thereby addressing the school’s purpose. So student speech that would drown out a controversial guest therefore can be prohibited.

However, institutions ideally will not simply silence students wishing to protest against a campus speaker. They may restrict student protesters to an appropriate forum, thus allowing both exercises of free speech to occur.

 
 
What exactly is 'directory information'?
 
Why would the news media want or need personal information about individual students or incidents?
 
May a student sue a private university for damages under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)?
 
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Last system update: Sunday, January 25, 2009 | 04:08:14
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