Sessions Says Boise State Policy Limits Free Speech

Sep 26, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions put Boise State University in his crosshairs Tuesday as he blasted universities for guidelines he says limit free speech.

Boise State’s student code of conduct says someone may be considered disorderly if “a reasonable person” would find another’s actions offensive. That includes any lewd, indecent, obscene or profane actions, but the code gives no specific definitions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at Georgetown University, pointing to BSU as one of two examples of colleges he says are cracking down on free speech with their written policies.

“The American university was once the center of academic freedom – a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas. But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought – a shelter for fragile egos,” Sessions said.

In a statement, Boise State officials argue the part of the code Sessions cited only applies to disorderly conduct. Toward the beginning of the policy, it says students enjoy the same freedoms of speech and assembly like all other citizens.

"Boise State is committed to supporting free expression and 'the only limits on this expression are to avoid conflict with the normal uses of the campus, the rights of others, and the limitations of lawful conduct,' as stated in university policy."

Across the country, controversial speakers – many of them conservative – have cancelled events on college campuses or have been met with protests. Some protests have turned violent.

Some say these protests are constricting the First Amendment, while others say they’re rallying against hate speech.

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