Florida Atlantic University continues to assert its undisputed dominance as quite obviously the worst place in the United States to attend college.
The public, taxpayer-funded university has now adopted a draconian new “Free Speech and Campus Civility” policy, reports the free-speech watchdog group FIRE.
The document begins by dispensing a few platitudes about the benefits of free speech, but quickly cuts to the heart of the matter. “What we do insist on, however, is that everyone in the FAU community behave and speak to and about one another in ways that are not racist, religiously intolerant or otherwise degrading to others,” it warns.
The Florida Atlantic webpage expounding the policy is dated July 15, 2013.
As FIRE observes, the broad and ambiguous policy forbids all kinds of speech and expression that is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (not to mention protected under a few sections of Florida’s constitution).
The “religiously intolerant” part could be used to chill speech criticizing Islam or Christianity, notes FIRE. It could also be used against students speaking their minds on various conflicts involving religion, such as the perpetual struggle between Israelis and Palestinians.
The insistence that no one be “racist” could become a weapon against students opining in unpopular ways against — or for — affirmative action, say, or immigration.
And the policy against “otherwise degrading” speech could be used against anything some FAU bureaucrat doesn’t like.
Of course, FAU is no stranger to infamy concerning its policies and the actions of its administrators and professors.
In March, the administration tried to punish a student who expressed discomfort with a professor’s assignment to stomp on a piece of paper bearing the word “Jesus.” (RELATED: Florida Atlantic issues new groveling apology over Jesus-stomping)
The professor, non-tenured communications instructor Deandre Poole, was placed on administrative leave but he now has his job back. He will now teach online courses. (RELATED: FAU professor in Jesus-stomping controversy reinstated)
Another communications professor, James Tracy, took to his personal blog, Memory Hole, to question official accounts of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. In the blog, which isn’t affiliated with FAU, Tracy argues that the amount of damage captured on video cannot be reconciled with the homemade bombs that authorities say caused the damage.
More likely, the tenured wackadoodle prof and one-time union leader mused, what happened in Boston was a “mass casualty drill.”
The blog posting is not the bizarro professor’s first attempt to marshal a complex conspiracy theory to explain a heinous massacre. He did exactly the same thing after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in mid-December. (RELATED: Public university professors join ranks of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists)
In April, reports The Palm Beach Post, FAU officials announced that the school would bow to immense student pressure and scrap a $6 million agreement to name its football stadium after GEO Group, a for-profit prison company.
During a protest over the GEO Group stadium fracas, Mary Jane Saunders, FAU’s then-president, hit a student protester with the side mirror of her Lexus. The protesters were reportedly harassing Saunders and attempting to block her exit.
Also in April, former U.S. Rep. Allen West angrily took to Facebook and Twitter because FAU students had harassed his wife, Angela Graham-West, who is a trustee at the school, the New Times Broward-Palm Beach explains.
“The students from Florida Atlantic University who have gone to my wife’s office, stalked her at the FAU Board of Trustee meetings, and sent letters to her company headquarters, end it now,” West wrote.
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