Monday, February 2, 2009

Victory for FIRE at Penn State

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education recently won another victory for student free speech at Penn State.

Its charter initially had this preamble:

Actions motivated by hate, prejudice, or intolerance violate this principle. I will not engage in any behaviors that compromise or demean the dignity of individuals or groups, including intimidation, stalking, harassment, discrimination, taunting, ridiculing, insulting, or acts of violence.

...which, according to FIRE, was in "impermissably vague terms" which could mean "almost anything." After being addressed by FIRE, Penn State has agreed to modify their preamble to include:

Consequently, these Principles do not constitute University policy and are not intended to interfere in any way with an individual's academic or personal freedoms. We hope, however, that individuals will voluntarily endorse these common principles, thereby contributing to the traditions and scholarly heritage left by those who preceded them, and will thus leave Penn State a better place for those who follow.

Thus, Penn State has changed their speech code to a voluntary call to respectable behavior.

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