Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Academics' Stifling Free Speech Ruled Unconstitutional

A "speech code" that the mainstream media term a "sexual harassment policy" was deemed a prohibition of freedom of speech to counter the university establishment and preach the Gospel.

-- From the secular press "Temple's harassment policy overturned" by Juliette Mullin, The Daily Pennsylvanian 8/7/08

In an opinion authored by Judge D. Brooks Smith on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of Temple University student Christian DeJohn in DeJohn v. Temple University. The ruling upheld a previous decision stating that Temple's former sexual harassment policy was unconstitutional.

Temple's original code prohibited, among other things, "generalized sexist remarks and behavior."

According to a university statement, which expressed disappointment at Monday's court ruling, "the former policy, adopted in 1990, tracked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's definition of sexual harassment."

In February 2006, DeJohn filed suit against Temple, arguing that Temple had violated his first amendment rights when denying him his masters degree due to his politics. This allegation was thrown out by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell in March 2007.

In the suit, DeJohn also claimed that the harassment policy was violating the first amendment rights of all Temple students.

Dalzell upheld DeJohn's objections to the policy in his ruling and prohibited Temple from reinstating the policy, which the university had replaced in Jan. 2007.

-- From "University's 'Speech Code' ruled unconstitutional" by Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 8/10/2008

Christian DeJohn was a masters degree student at Temple who had some philosophical disagreements with some of his professors. But he knew that if he spoke out, in class or in public, he could be punished by the administration.

Attorney David Hacker, is with the Alliance Defense Fund. He says DeJohn knew about Temple's 'Speech Code,' which, he says, "is a harassment policy that is so vaguely worded and so broad in its language that, really, university administrators were able to punish any sort of speech that they deemed offensive. And Mr. DeJohn was troubled by that [and] felt he couldn't really express his opinions in class and with his friends. And so he felt it was really important to challenge this policy and get it overturned."

. . . he says similar policies are still in force at about three-quarters of the nation's public universities.