UNL Student Learns Valuable Lesson On Liberal Meaning Of Free Speech

Let’s be clear: the 1st Amendment’s Free Speech clause was meant to denote the ability of Citizens to have their say about Government without fear of reprisal from Government. To complain about it, to denounce it, to say negative things about it, to call it out. Excluding the Religion Clause, the entire 1st is about the government not being allowed to retaliate when citizens complain, point out wrongdoing, malfeasance, etc.

Of course, Free Speech has been extended into other realms. If I want to call someone an @sshole, well, they may not like it, but I cannot get into legal trouble, either criminal or civil. Though if they pop me one, hey, consequences. But, we can’t yell fire in a movie house unless there actually is a fire. We can’t threaten to kill someone. We can’t tell untruths about people. Certain obscenity. That isn’t free speech, particularly in the view of political speech. But, what about speech that offends?

(Daily Caller) Fallout continues unabated at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln after a graduate student senator wove an amazing tapestry of racial slurs during a student government meeting last week.

The student, graduate research assistant and Ph.D. candidate Cameron Murphy, used the n-word a bunch of times in the course of citing a comedy routine by Chris Rock, reports the Daily Nebraskan, NU’s campus newspaper.

Murphy, who won his seat thanks to a successful write-in campaign, also questioned whether it was offensive to don sombreros in a Homecoming skit. And, of course, he offered as evidence of his own cultural awareness the fact that he has been called a “cracker.”

Obviously, this seriously upset the student government, and much of the student body. He was making a point about a resolution passed by the student government at the taxpayer funded school about offensive speech. These kids enrolled in an institution of higher learning didn’t get it

“I was in shock. I was sick to my stomach,” fellow student senator Annie Himes told local ABC affiliate KLKN.

“The body was visibly uncomfortable,” she added. “People had their hands on their faces. People had their heads on the tables.”

Himes praised herself for heroically asking Murphy to stop speaking.

She also wants Murphy brought up on charges in the student court. The school chancellor, Harvey Perlman, had a little meltdown about this free speech. Here’s from the Daily Nebraskan opinion piece on the matter

If the non-discrimination clause was doing its job, Murphy wouldn’t have made his comments in the first place. And really, what right does one group of students have to decide whether minority groups need protection from discrimination? Sure, free speech is alive and important. But our student representatives should hold themselves to a higher standard in the way they conduct themselves and interact with others. (snip)

This incident could be a good opportunity for students to more closely examine how ASUN senators are representing the school. Let’s applaud the senators, like Eckstrom and her supporters, who are culturally and socially open-minded.

Liberals like free speech only when it is approved by them. And this is how we end up with Hate Speech laws, which criminalize Free Speech. Because obviously no one should ever be Offended. Unless they are conservatives, then it’s open season, of course.

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11 Responses to “UNL Student Learns Valuable Lesson On Liberal Meaning Of Free Speech”

  1. Hot_Tea_Drinkin_Gumballs says:

    But, we can’t yell fire in a movie house unless there actually is a fire.

    This only applies if the crowd freaks and damage (property, personal) is caused. If I stand up and yell “FIRE”, and nothing happens, but someone feels offended, I still am free to say it. But, if the crowd flees out the doors, and firetrucks are called in, and someone gets hurt, then I can be arrested for causing mayhem, causing a public disturbance, and sued for loss of revenue for theater, firestation, and by the people themselves.

    But, yeah, free speech is only allowed when its approved of by the minority.

    Free speech will even get you fired by the gov’t and universities.

  2. I just, good grief, that story, just, wow. Liberals really are nuts.

  3. Jeffery says:

    Good points. No way, no how should students in public schools have their free speech suppressed by the government tyrants. In fact, any organization, even private, that receives gov’t subsidies, tax breaks, grants or contracts should be prevented from establishing any rules or policies that limit free speech.

    The market is better able to control behavior than the autocrats. Some companies that receive gov’t funds actually have codes of behavior that go beyond what is required by the bare bones of our Constitution – they would actually fire employees that use nigger, kike, wop, dago, redskin, bitch, ho, jewboy, spic, taco bender, camel jockey – in violation of the employee’s Constitutional free speech protection.

    What’s America coming to when a good patriot can be fired for practicing his first or second amendment rights?

  4. gitarcarver says:

    While Jeffy wants his post to be sarcasm, he actually does believe the government should limit speech and control speech in the public and private sectors.

    Liberals like Jeffy hate freedom.

  5. I wonder if Jeffrey understands the difference between the public and private sectors, and that the Bill of Rights, at least the first 10, are about limiting the federal government? Nah, probably not.

  6. Jeffery says:

    Since Gitty already knows all that I think, let’s limn what he thinks. Do you consider the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to be part of the federal government (which is critical per wt’s subsequent description)? wt contends that the 1st Amendment only applies to the federal gov’t suppressing your free speech rights. If you think that limiting speech rights at a state university is unconstitutional, what about at non-university public schools? Should public high school students have absolute freedom of speech? Grade schoolers? Or can public school systems enact reasonable limits on what students say, wear and do? Should kids be able to wear a shirt that says “Jesus of Nazareth was a Lying Faggot” or “Teabaggers Suck Balls” or “The Only Good Limbaugh is a Dead Limbaugh”? Certainly these sentiments are Constitutional free speech if worn on the street. How about a public high school student unfurling a banner that says “Bong Hits for Jesus” on a public sidewalk during a school function? How would the conservatives on the Supreme Court respond in that case?

    wt: Before you mock someone else’s knowledge of the Constitution you should stop yourself from typing about the “first ten” of our “Bill of Rights”. If you don’t understand, I will be happy to explain.

    Also wt: If you consider the University of Nebraska to be a federal gov’t body because they receive some state funds is a company that exists solely on federal gov’t contracts also a federal gov’t body?

  7. gitarcarver says:

    Jeffy as usual tries to distract from the issue and in doing so shows his ignorance.

    First and foremost, UNL may or may not be considered to be under the jurisdiction of the federal government. In the long run it doesn’t matter because there is no doubt that UNL is a state school.

    The First Amendment applies to to the government – either the Federal government or the state government. In fact, the very notion that Jeffy is trying to put forth – that UNL does not have to abide by the First Amendment – is laid to waste by the Nebraska state Constitution which has the same meaning as the federal First Amendment. In fact, there is a reference on the Nebraska website dealing with how the state views freedom of speech which says:

    The parameters of the constitutional right to freedom of speech are the same under both the federal and the state Constitutions. Pony Lake Sch. Dist. v. State Committee for Reorg., 271 Neb. 173, 710 N.W.2d 609 (2006).

    The parameters of the constitutional right to freedom of speech are the same under this provision and the U.S. Constitution. State v. Hookstra, 263 Neb. 116, 638 N.W.2d 829 (2002).

    Jeffy then moves onto speech not understanding the law there either.

    The right of free speech is not absolute. But Courts (including the Supreme Court) have said that the government may enact “reasonable time place and manner” restrictions on speech. As schools are designed to educate, Courts have ruled that schools may limit speech or activities that disrupt the educational process. Therefore, a person may be able to walk around a college campus with a tee shirt that Jeffy proposes, but if that tee shirt disrupts the education process, it may be banned.

    However, what Jeffy misses on here is that the speech and words used by the student was not in an educational setting. It was in a student legislative body. The student made no threat, no “fighting words” statement or anything that would disrupt the learning environment.

    That makes the student’s speech protected under the First Amendment. As the words were spoken to make a political point, it is arguable that the speech is more protected as the Courts have generally given political speech more protection than other forms of speech such as commercial speech.

    The school did not try to restrict the speech because it broke any established law, but because it “offended” someone. “Offensive speech” is still protected speech in most cases and here clearly so.

    The fact that Jeffy is against the speech and wants to make arguments that are not applicable to this instance but instead simply wants to shut down speech with which he disagrees underscores the point that Jeffy is wrong and anti-freedom.

    Once again, a massive fail from Jeffy.

  8. Jeffery says:

    giddy’s argument is that the offensive speech took place outside the classroom and is therefore protected. That’s inconsistent with the facts. In Bethel vs Fraser (1986), the Court held that Bethel School district was within its rights to censure Mr. Fraser based on his sexually suggestive speech given at a campaign assembly. Nor did Mr. Fraser use any obscene words or break any laws.

    In Morse et al vs Frederick (2007), a student unfurled a banner proclaiming “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” off campus (that is, outside of class), and the principal suspended the student for 10 days. The suspension was upheld by the conservative members of the court. In Hazelwood (1988), the Court sided with the school district in restricting free speech in the student newspaper.

    On the other hand, the liberal 1969 Court ruled in Tinker that students were within their rights to wear black armbands protesting the US involvement in Vietnam. In 1973 they ruled for graduate student Papish’s right to express herself in what many would consider obscene leaflets.


    In the key cases it seems as if conservatives were restricting student speech and liberals were expanding free speech rights.

    Why do you maintain that liberals are trying to suppress student speech? Do you just assume that all educated people are liberals?

  9. gitarcarver says:

    Jeffy once again demonstrates comprehension issues.

    In Bethel and Morse, the actions were in a public high schoo, which courts have ruled have more control over content and actions on campus (and even to some extent, off campus.)

    But in the case at hand, the so called “offending speech” took place at a college – not a high school.

    Courts have continually said that colleges are places where ideas are to be exchanged and have generally refrained from placing restrictions on speech in areas that are not school related.

    Why do you maintain that liberals are trying to suppress student speech?

    Well, let’s take this case Jeffy.

    Here is a case where a person was OFFENDED by the speech of another adult. The liberals on the student government tried to restrict the speech.

    No one here thinks that educated people are liberals because we have you to dispute that.

    What is being said is that liberals like yourself want to restrict speech not on the basis of law, but on the basis of what “offends” them.

    Liberals can’t stand ideas that are contrary to theirs. That is why there are all sorts of “speech codes” on college campuses that deal with the “feelings” of people hearing free speech and not protecting the free speech to begin with.

    Oh, and by the way, because you are for the restriction of speech in this case and claim that conservatives want to restrict free speech, that means you are either a conservative or a liberal hypocrite.

    And we know that you aren’t a conservative.

  10. Hot_Tea_Drinkin_Gumballs says:

    that was going to be my point as well. This is a difference between a public school and a college. Also, between a collegiate classroom and a political forum.

    Isn’t it strange that it was “small-l” liberals who fought to expand the meaning of Free Speech to allow deviant actions and activities, and attacked conservatives and religion using Free Speech justifications. But now that they are feeling offended, they want to limit other people’s Free Speech.

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