This Thursday, the University of California Board of Regents is set to consider adopting a new policy that would establish a “right” to be “free from acts and expressions of intolerance” on campus. The policy would prohibit, among other things, “hate speech [and] derogatory language reflecting stereotypes or prejudice.” It would also single out specific forms of expression, including “Depicting or articulating a view of ethnic or racial groups as less ambitious, less hardworking or talented, or more threatening than other groups” and “questioning a student’s fitness for a leadership role or whether the student should be a member of the campus community on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, sex, or sexual orientation.”
As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh notes, the policy would officially condemn anyone who advocates against illegal aliens serving as student members of the California Board of Regents. It would also condemn, as Volokh puts it, “Articulating a view that there are cultural (or even biological) differences between ethnic and racial groups in various fields . . . without regard to the arguments for or against the particular assertion.” More ominous still, the proposed policy declares that “the University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of intolerant behavior and treat them as opportunities to reinforce the University’s Principles Against Intolerance.”
As my colleague Charlie Cooke observed to me today, liberals are less than one week removed from furious and sanctimonious invocations of the “rule of law” in support of their demands that Kim Davis issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Where is the Left’s love for the rule of law on campus? While there is not (yet) any specific federal court order striking down the proposed University of California policy, its language violates the terms of every federal court decision evaluating campus speech codes anywhere in the U.S., including in California. Simply put, no federal court has ever upheld such sweeping prohibitions on speech.
Let’s take California. In 2007 San Francisco State University put its chapter of the College Republicans on trial for desecrating the name of Allah. At an anti-terrorism rally, members of the College Republicans stomped on paper representations of the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah, which contain the name “Allah” written in Arabic script. Bear in mind, this is a school where activists routinely burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag. Students charged the College Republicans with “attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment” and “actions of incivility.”
Notice how the intolerant left doesn't care when speech or actions that offend or are intolerant towards groups they hate, like libertarians/conservatives or patriotic Americans.