firstamendmentcenter.org: Free speech on public college campuses - Topic FAQs


Fan profanity

Can't a public college stadium prohibit fan profanity because there are kids in the stands?

Under current First Amendment doctrine, offensiveness cannot be measured from the standpoint of the most sensitive person in the crowd; the level of permissible expression cannot be reduced to what the least-tolerant listener will accept. Nor should it be measured from the standpoint of children in the crowd, because, as the Supreme Court long has insisted, the level of discourse for an adult audience cannot be reduced only to what is fit for children.