February 26, 2020

MOVE ALONG. THERE’S NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Last week’s report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hasn’t gotten much attention (and I suspect that suits the Commission’s majority just fine). It was supposed to highlight Obama-Era (and Bush-Era!) Department of Education’s warnings to colleges and universities that they must exercise control over students who make “sexual comments, jokes or gestures,” “spread rumors” (even true ones), or apparently write just about anything deemed to be offensive “of a sexual nature.” The idea when the report was originally planned (in 2013) was to show how colleges and universities are pressured to limit speech that is protected by the First Amendment. Alas, due to changes in the membership of the Commission over the course of Obama’s Presidency, the long-delayed report turned into more a defense of those policies than a critique. The report has a tone of “Move along … nothing to see here” to it. Here’s my short dissent.

The good news is that the Trump Administration will soon be making two new appointments to the Commission. I am looking forward to welcoming two new colleagues.

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