So today is First Amendment Day at UNC, and you probably wouldn’t know it from the attitude that the University espouses about “free speech.” FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has listed UNC as a Red for its free speech rankings. Our policies limit people’s speech in the name of non discrimination. Whenever I jokingly wolf-whistle at one of my sorority sisters, I am sexually harassing her. Whenever I make a joke about sex, I’m sexually harassing the listener. If I still lived in a dorm and wrote on my whiteboard, “Fuck Bitches Get Money” I can get thrown out of the dorm. Our determination to protect people from being offended by everything has moved too far. If I’m going to make sex jokes, I want to know that I won’t be sent to the honor court by someone who was offended. After all, UNC’s standard of conviction for sexual harassment is only “preponderance of evidence” and if the person heard me say a dirty joke I’m probably going to be put on probation.
Maybe we need to put a sign up in the University offices that reminds them of this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.