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"Schools will understand (the recommendations) as binding," Lukianoff told 770 KTTH's David Boze, because they receive funding from the federal government. (AP Photo/File)

Sexual harassment rules on college campuses trickle down to freedom of speech

The places where you might find some of the freest thinkers and those that want to protect their right to free speech are now also the target of new policies that will limit that same speech.

The Department of Justice and the Department of Education recently recommended that sexual harassment be redefined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. That, according to Wall Street Journal writer Greg Lukianoff, means they recommended a limit to free speech.

"Schools will understand it as binding," Lukianoff told 770 KTTH's David Boze, because they receive funding from the federal government. But getting this recommendation to stand up in court, he said, is a laughing matter.

"This attempt to broaden the definition of harassment to basically being the right not to be offended, has been defeated in court consistently since 1989."

According to Lukianoff, if loose rules surrounding freedom of speech are enforced on college campuses, it will allow some cases to see punishment before any sort of trial could take place.

Lukianoff believes rules like this start because of groupthink, incompetence and ideology, but objections keep coming. Especially when students get in trouble for saying something they believe to be true. If someone is Christian and says they don't believe in gay marriage, for example, another student that hears that could say they are being harassed.

And in those cases, it comes down to the biases of the enforcers on college campus to say which freedom comes first.

Alyssa Kleven, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.
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