Rutgers has a “bias incident” policy that encourages students to report such “incidents” of student speech that “malign” or “offend” a person on the basis of religion, gender, or sexual orientation (among others). The offense is subjectively determined and the speech need not actually interfere with education. Moreover, the university has placed its “Center for Social Justice Education and LGBTQ Communities” in charge of reviewing these “bias incidents.” The Rutgers policy lacks the protections for student speech required by the Third Circuit’s decision in DeJohn v. Temple University.
ADF sent a demand letter to Rutgers University on April 8, 2010.
University speech codes stifle the “marketplace of ideas” and unconstitutionally limit student speech on campus. These speech codes should be repealed and brought into conformity with the First Amendment.
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