Last semester, the faculty senate at the University of Alabama (UA) passed an Orwellian speech code designed to restrict ?any behavior that demeans or reduces an individual based on group affiliation or personal traits, or which promotes hate or discrimination.?
Anyone armed with an 11th grade education can see that such a speech code is unconstitutional. Indeed, many of the UA ?diversity initiatives? such as the Vagina Monologues would be banned under such a code, if the university had any intention of applying the code equally. Come to think of it, booing an Auburn football player would be banned under the code, too.
The idea for the speech code followed a university-sponsored comedy show in which a homosexual student claimed to have been singled out for his sexual preference. In reality, it was an opportunity UA professors had been waiting on for years.
Accounting Professor and Faculty Senate President John Mason said the speech code was passed so UA would not be responsible for paying entertainers who might offend members of the UA community. For example, ?Vagina Warriors? who march around campus chanting ?vagina, vagina? during the Vagina Monologues need to be protected from speech that might make them cry.
"Our resolution asks that before the University hires an entertainer, we check to see that the performance does not use forms of hate speech, such as gay bashing or ethnic bashing," Mason said. "The rationale for that is that the University should not pay to bring someone on campus who will say those things. Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want, but we don't have to pay to hear it. Basically, the University should not sponsor or pay for an event where hate speech will likely be spoken."
In typical Orwellian double-speak, Mason said that the Faculty Senate never had plans to implement a speech code or anything of the kind. ?Anyone stating that is using that as a platform for other purposes, such as furthering his or her own political aspirations,? Mason said.
But, fortunately, UA Sophomore Pat Samples saw through the resolution and proposed that the Faculty Senate rescind its resolution made last semester. In addition, Samples urged the Senate to adopt positive protections for free speech.