ERIC Number: ED347603
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb-25
Reference Count: N/A
An Examination of Revisionist Theories of the First Amendment Cited in Dinesh D'Souza's "Illiberal Education": Arguments for Abridgement of Freedom of Speech on Campus To Protect the Educational Opportunities of Women and Minorities.
Nowell, W. Robert, III
Recently, some critics have argued that the academy has become infected by a new brand of censorship which threatens the openness central to a university's purposes. Dinesh D'Souza has argued that this censorship is a manifestation of influence enjoyed by leftist radical professors and students. D'Souza is correct that the First Amendment is being revised in the name of diversity. Three basic arguments for the abridgement of certain forms of speech on campuses must be considered. The cultural transmission argument states that when a society tolerates intolerant speech, negative behaviors and generational transmissions are induced. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this view. The "fighting words" and injured feelings view argues that minorities and women are injured by intolerant speech and thereby become unable to participate in university activities. This injury is weighed against freedom of speech. However, this argument has been found flawed in court because it is too broad and vague. The university as "special place" argument views the campus as a special environment in which values are imparted to students, but such a paradigm is problematic for a number of reasons. The policy has also been justified through analogy to Title VII of the Civil Rights Law, but this has been rejected in courts. Supporters of anti-discrimination codes have failed to give full consideration to these codes as censorship. Civility can not be legislated, and too much codification and litigation is detrimental to higher education. (Fifty-seven notes are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: D Souza (Dinesh); First Amendment; Offensive Speech; Politically Correct Communication
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western States Communication Association (63rd, Boise, ID, February 21-25, 1992).