The intersection of free speech, hate speech, social media and college discipline are playing out in campuses across the country and in some courts. College students use social media constantly and almost exclusively to voice their opinions and ideas. Many Universities have faced challenges when these opinions border on hate speech or racism and school officials are turning to the University Disciplinary system. Many University codes bar and punish many types of normally protected speech. Sounds unAmerican? Against the Constitution? What about the First Amendment? This is the challenge.
For example, an App called Yik Yak has spurned a number of college disciplinary cases resulting in suspensions at Colorado College when students posted racist opinions – you can read about here. If you are curious about whether your College or University has policies that restrict free speech check out FIRE’s (Foundation for Individual Rights in Eduction) website which rates the disciplinary codes of about 400 public and private Universities.