UC San Diego threatens to punish students for protected speech
More trouble from imitating blacks:
"The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and its student government have violated the First Amendment by freezing funds for 33 student media organizations, dissolving the student-run television station, and threatening to punish students involved in a controversy over a party invitation for an event called the "Compton Cookout."
Student government president Utsav Gupta has explained that his repressive actions were due to "fracturing of the student body on an issue" and "hateful speech." Further, under pressure from state legislators who seek to punish protected speech, UCSD has launched "aggressive investigations" into the party invitation. After many students came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help, FIRE has written two letters to UCSD defending the First Amendment both on and off campus.
"UCSD is detracting from its message of moral outrage by committing so many violations of the First Amendment," said FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley. "UCSD now must undo the damage to free speech and resist the pressure to punish protected expression."
The invitation for the February 15 party, which first appeared on social networking site Facebook, celebrated racial stereotypes, asked female partygoers to dress as "ghetto chicks," and invited partygoers to "experience the various elements of life in the ghetto." The party reportedly was a DVD release party organized by "Jiggaboo Jones," an African-American "shock jock"-style performer whose persona relies on deliberately provocative and offensive expression. Members of UCSD fraternities reportedly were involved in organizing the event.
Last week, several members of the California State Legislature called for the investigation and punishment of those students involved. Among the elected officials urging punishment for protected speech were Speaker-elect John A. Pérez, Speaker Karen Bass, and most of all Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III, who "want[s] names" and suspensions or expulsions. UCSD did not rule out punishment and has announced "aggressive investigations" into possible disciplinary violations.
FIRE's letter today to UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox points out that the investigation of protected speech is likely a violation of the First Amendment rights of those investigated and urges the school to announce that it will never investigate protected speech...