MU Police Dept. faces backlash to email asking for reports on hate speech
— Thomas Bradbury (@Thomas_Bradbury) November 10, 2015
Both liberals and conservatives who value free speech have criticized the move by the police on Missouri’s flagship campus. The American Civil Liberties Union also decried the news.
“Racial epithets addressed to a specific person in a threatening or intimidating manner can be illegal, and may require action by police and/or university administrators,”Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri, said. “But, no governmental entity has the authority to broadly prohibit ‘hurtful’ speech – or even undefined ‘hateful’ speech, or to discipline against it.
“Conversely, institutional racism and a history of turning a blind-eye to systemic inequities does require action. But mistakenly addressing symptoms – instead of causes – and doing it in a way that runs counter to the First Amendment is not the wise or appropriate response.”
The email comes as further questions about the First Amendment come to light after a tumultuous day on Mizzou’s campus, which saw protesters pushing for better racial equity on campus shove, harass and intimidate a student journalist for invading a “safe space” in the middle of a public university.
Those same university protesters also successfully put enough pressure on the now-former system president, Tim Wolfe, to resign.