Today, Speech First sent a letter to the president of Tulane University and their board of trustees, urging them to revise several problematic policies in their Student Handbook that threaten the free speech rights of students.
Along with that letter, Speech First collected 7,397 petition signatures from concerned citizens, students, and alumni who joined with us to urge Tulane University to revise its “Acceptable Use Policy,” its “Demonstration Policy,” and its “Anti-Harassment Policy” to bring them into compliance with the First Amendment.
On paper, Tulane University values free speech; their “Demonstration Guidelines” assert: “Tulane is committed to an environment in which a variety of ideas can be freely expressed and critically examined. The University expects that the expression of views be made with respect for the dignity and freedom of others.” And their “Social Media Guidelines” state that it “encourages freedom of expression and recognizes the value of diverse opinions.”
Unfortunately, the school doesn’t live up to those lofty words.
- Student protests must provide the school with two days’ advance notice (defeating the spontaneity of such events!);
- Tulane’s internet policy requires students to “communicate only in ways that are kind and respectful”;
- Students may not post social media material that is “profane, libelous, obscene, threatening, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory or embarrassing to anyone”; and
- The school bans “harassment, intimidation, or cyberbullying.”
All of the stipulations above give the university power to paint a broad brush of censorship over many forms of student speech.
For more details, read the attached letter that Speech First sent to the Tulane administration with recommendations for revising their restrictive speech policies.Tulane Letter