While some argue that Facebook and other large tech companies are suppressing or censoring conservative viewpoints, the companies argue they are only taking down “false information.” But how does satire fit in?
On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy and public school students’ speech rights, in the case Mahoney School Board v. Brandi Levy. In 2017, Levy, then a 14 year old high school student in Pennsylvania, tried out for her school’s varsity cheering squad. After not making the team, she vented her frustrations in a Snapchat video, where she flipped off the camera and dropped a few swearwords. The school, after seeing the video, subsequently suspended her from the junior varsity cheer squad, saying that her video and its message violated the cheerleading code of conduct. After failing to come to a resolution with the school, Levy and her parents sued, arguing that punishing her for off campus speech violated Levy’s First Amendment rights.
Faculty should not push their opinions on students – or make students feel denigrated for their opinions – but they should encourage students to question and strongly analyze their opinions. That’s part of the point of college.
The progress made by women – and minorities – in the last 100 years clearly shows the important role speech and protest play in our country. Without those marches and those protests, would we have a female Vice President today? I suspect not.
A ban seems a bit like using a meat cleaver where a scalpel might be more appropriate. I’m also troubled by the potential message a TikTok ban sends; we want to encourage China to be more protective of and open to free speech, especially in light of the troubling shift toward censorship in Hong Kong. Can we really do that if we are banning their apps? By banning their apps, are we taking steps in that same direction?
Reporters without Borders recently released the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, which attempts to measure press freedoms worldwide. This year, they ranked the United States 45th out of 180 countries; up 3 spots from 48th in 2019.
Ultimately, while there may be arguments about the wisdom of these stay-at-home orders, and perhaps other constitutional arguments to be made, I don’t think the argument that they violate the right to assembly or the right to religion is particularly persuasive. Let’s cross our fingers that these social distancing measures work, and we can all go back to “normal” soon, making this debate a distant memory.
In recognition of Fair Use / Fair Dealing Week, professors of hip hop A. D. Carson and Justin De Senso share insights on the place of fair use in teaching and learning, what happens when you invite lawyers to class, creating historiography-by-discography, what it’s like to send a scholarly album out for peer review, and rap ensemble 2 Live Crew’s contributions to fair use, free expression, and hip hop history.
In his dissent, Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that the 1st Amendment protects the right to critique the government, and that right should only be curtailed when there is a “present danger of immediate evil.”
Many comedians have commented on performing for “politically correct” college campuses, but when does correctness become censorship?