Kudos to the University of Alabama Student Senate for having the courage to stand up to their own faculty and condemning the faculty's endorsement of a speech code. The indispensible FIRE is on the case, and has the full story on its website.
From the Student's Resolution:
The Student Senate resolution, sent to UA President Robert Witt and Faculty Senate President John Mason, passed unanimously on February 24, 2005. Authored by Student Senator Pat Samples, the resolution states that "[f]ree speech is absolutely vital to the mission of any university, where new and often controversial ideas must be discussed openly and rationally in order to make advances in knowledge" and proclaims that "[b]y defending free speech for all students, one in no way condones any kind of hate or intolerance; [o]n the contrary, one is promoting tolerance of others despite their differences, especially their differences of opinion." The student resolution also warned that adopting a speech code would be a legal liability for UA and would "greatly tarnish its public image." The resolution's call for free speech for all students directly opposes the Faculty Senate's "hate speech" resolution passed last September.
I want to also express my congratulations to several old friends of mine on the Alabama faculty who were willing to stand with the students in favor of free speech.
It really is extraordinary that we live in an age where students have to educate faculty on the importance and educational value of free speech.
The Torch--FIRE's new blog--also reports that this is not the first time that Alabama's students have stood up to bullying by their Administrators, who once tried to prohibit the display of American flags on campus.
Whoops--looks like Randy was already on the case.
Several readers have emailed me noting a comment from Washington Monthly which clarifies that Alabama actually tried to ban the display of all dorm window displays, which would, of course, include the American flag, and that Alabama students protested the ban by displaying the American flag in their dorm windows, which would have been prohibited under the university policy. I apologize for understating the full reach of Alabama's proposed trampling on free speech in the earlier situation.