College "Speech Code" Lose Out in Court Case

I am behind the curve on this one and not sure if it got much coverage. I just learned that earlier in the month Temple University lost a case in which their speech code was ruled unconstitutional.

Hopefully this ruling will be applied on other campuses.

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How so?

On what basis is Temple University's speech code unconstitutional? I briefly looked at the page but the basis didn't pop out at me. The Constitution restricts the government, not anyone else, so then am I right in assuming that the basis relies on Temple University being directly subsidized by the state government and that this ruling has no bearing on universities such as Harvard?

Where are the teachers?

It said in the news story that the case involved a public university. It is an interesting point you make.If there were only private universities and schools as many libertarians insist,would there be no protection for freedom of speech in universities? Debate and freedom of expression part of education.It is sad but true that old men in judicial robes appear to be more protective of these things than "teachers" who claim to be educators.

Dave

Yes and No

If there were only private universities and schools as many libertarians insist,would there be no protection for freedom of speech in universities?

No protection is a little extreme--there would always be the protection that comes from being able to switch one's service provider. But yes, it is conceivable that a private education system would not protect freedom of speech at all--though I don't think it's terribly likely, as people buying education will be looking for good education, and good education, as you say, involves freedom of speech and debate.

Where is freedom?

This is revelatory. So the only protections for elementary freedoms in an anarchic society are market forces. However in an anarchic society the only thing forbidden is aggression. Otherwise you have freedom. Of course threatening speech and loud boisterous speech when people desire quiet, is aggression. No one has the right to enter one’s home or property without at least tacit permission to speak or to do anything else.

Even in public places, certain speech is inappropriate. It would be inappropriate to go to a public or private hospital and try to sell coffins to the families of critically ill patients or to make a political speech at a baseball game or theater performance. But if the property is otherwise open to the public and expression of opinion is allowed by anyone and anyone may speak his opinions freely, how can the property owner abridge speech without committing aggression against the speaker? Does the university owner get to define what is aggression by saying it is anything he doesn’t want to hear?

Dave

Revelatory?

So the only protections for elementary freedoms in an anarchic society are market forces.

What other forces exist in a society without government? Perhaps, the impulses of civil society, people who protest and encourage what they believe to be right, without committing aggression. But one may subsume such things under government or under market.

But if the property is otherwise open to the public and expression of opinion is allowed by anyone and anyone may speak his opinions freely, how can the property owner abridge speech without committing aggression against the speaker? Does the university owner get to define what is aggression by saying it is anything he doesn’t want to hear?

I don't think the university owner has to redefine anything--he can admit speech is unaggressive and still bar it. If he owns the property, then he's within his rights to make up the rules others agree to by entering his property, in the same way (as you point out) a homeowner may. I see no reason to distinguish the two. I assume we're talking about a privately-owned piece of property here. The rules would likely be different for a commons.

Property

But if the property is otherwise open to the public and expression of opinion is allowed by anyone and anyone may speak his opinions freely, how can the property owner abridge speech without committing aggression against the speaker?

He does not do so directly. What he has is the right to exclude others from his property.

You could equally ask: how can the property owner take people's money without committing aggression? The answer is: he has the right to exclude others from his property and he may if he chooses employ this right by making presence on his property conditional on giving him money. He is called a "landlord" and the people who give him money are "tenants".

Similarly with speech. He may if he chooses employ his right (to exclude) by making presence on his property conditional on not saying certain things.

An owner who excludes someone else from the owner's property is not committing aggression.

Does the university owner get to define what is aggression by saying it is anything he doesn’t want to hear?

No, he is not "defining aggression", he is publicizing a condition for remaining on his property. Similarly, when a restaurant says that people may not enter the premises shirtless or shoeless, it is not defining shirtlessness as aggression, it is making public a condition for entering the property.

How do Anarchists Define the Commons?

I am beginning to get some insight here but there are things that bother me.
For example: “I assume we're talking about a privately-owned piece of property here. The rules would likely be different for a commons.”
Can you give me a bright line definition of the commons in an anarchic society? I am all in favor of private property and the rights thereof but how are behavioral norms in the commons modified. In non- anarchic societies people eventually devise common rules that the culture at large agrees upon. But if they don’t there is at least violence, if not aggression.

“An owner who excludes someone else from the owner's property is not committing aggression. No, he is not "defining aggression", he is publicizing a condition for remaining on his property.” Ok, so I own the property. I am like Bob Jones University. I say no one may advocate atheism, Judaism or Islam or they must leave. The antidote to this is that private accreditation organizations may deny the university status and thus the degrees are not recognized by the public at large. The government is not needed here. The lawyers would still find a way to get involved.
Dave

Common rules

In non- anarchic societies people eventually devise common rules that the culture at large agrees upon.

You've described this happening without state involvement. Presumably, then, it applies equally well to anarchy, since the difference between anarchy and non-anarchy is the absence versus presence of a state.

The antidote to this is that private accreditation organizations may deny the university status and thus the degrees are not recognized by the public at large.

That is one antidote. Another is that, when a school introduces a speech code, the number of prospective students may go down relative to what it would have been without the speech code, this in turn encouraging the school to drop the speech code to restore its former popularity. (Why should they care about popularity? - because popularity is demand, and a rise in demand will tend to support a rise in tuition.) And yet another antidote is individualistic: why is it necessary that all or even most campuses be free of speech codes? You are only one person and you will only go to one (or two) of these schools, so all you should really care about for your own experience is that there be a good selection of schools without speech codes. Some students may prefer the "protection" of speech codes. Why shouldn't they have the opportunity to attend a school that provides them with the speech codes they desire? In the meantime, if there are enough prospective students like you who value free and open exchange (and surely there are) then at least some universities will make it a point not to have speech codes and will prominently advertise this.

State-subsidized colleges are