Tufts U. student leaders reject free speech measure, call it ‘unsafe’

By Peter Van Voorhis

A sweeping free speech resolution has been rejected by Tufts University’s student government, whose members called the effort to broaden and clarify students’ First Amendment rights “unsafe.”

Tufts has a “red light” speech-code rating from FIRE, which means it maintains at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.

Student Jake Goldberg’s free speech resolution called for an end to campus anti-free speech rules at Tufts, including vague administrative provisos that crack down on the “use of nicknames,” “hurtful words,” “bias-fueled jokes,” “comments on an individual’s body or appearance,” “innuendos of a sexual nature,” “gender bias,” and dozens more similar examples cited in the measure.

But the Tufts Student Senate recently voted 26 to zero with two abstentions to reject the proposal, with some senators saying free speech actually endangers students, and that free speech protections make administrators’ jobs impossible.

“I believe everyone’s right to access their education on this campus is more important than abolishing the protective restrictions we have on free speech,” one student senator declared after the vote.

Prior to the vote, Goldberg tried to sway his peers to support unabridged free speech on campus.

“We just want to make sure these [vague administrative] policies are cleaned up, better defined, and use language that’s easy to understand,” he said.

Goldberg added that, without the measure passing, administrators can unfairly punish students for exercising their First Amendment rights.

But nearly every single senator voiced opposition to the measure, according to a video of the senate meeting posted on the student government’s Facebook page.

Senate President Gauri Seth chided Goldberg for his resolution, saying that “I think clarity in itself is subjective so I don’t really know what we’re voting on, which is why I oppose this resolution. … I just don’t think [the resolution] protects students in the way that it should. I think that actually really harms students.”

Read the whole story at The College Fix

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