US Civil Rights Commissioner Michael Yaki: 18-22 year-olds don’t deserve First Amendment speech rights [Darleen Click]
… because Science™!!1! says they have mushy brains …
Here’s an excerpt from the tentative transcript, which matches my recollection of the comments; Commissioner Yaki is questioning Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
And it seems to me that there are ways that you can create a very apprehensive coordinate [possible transcription error -EV] of sexual harassment on a campus, but you [Greg Lukianoff -EV] probably would not find any prohibition by a university on that type of conduct to pass muster. Would that be correct? …
What about a slave auction at a fraternity engagement or a day where another group decides that they’re going to celebrate Latino culture by making everyone dress as janitors and mop floors or a situation involving women, have them as a ritual parade around in skimpy clothing and turn in some show or something.
It thus appears to me that Commissioner Yaki is coming out in support of speech codes that ban speech and symbolic expression that is perceived as conveying a racist or sexist message — despite past court decisions striking down such restrictions, including specifically in the context of racially and sexually offensive fraternity activities. [...]
But that is a familiar argument; it was a follow-up question of Commissioner Yaki’s that particularly struck me:
COMMISSIONER YAKI: But it has nothing to do with policies [likely a mistranscription of "politics" -EV]. It has to do with science, and it has to do with the fact that more and more the vast majority, in fact I think overall in bodies of science is that young people, not just K through 12 but also between the ages of 16 to 20, 21 is where the brain is still in a stage of development. [...]
Certain factors in how the juvenile or adolescent or young adult brain processes information is vastly different from the way that we adults do.
So when we sit back and talk about what is right or wrong in terms of First Amendment jurisprudence from a reasonable person’s standpoint, we are really not looking into the same referential viewpoint of these people, of an adolescent or young adult, including those in universities. [...]
And because of that, and because of the unique nature of a university campus setting, I think that there are very good and compelling reasons why broader policies and prohibitions on conduct in activities and in some instances speech are acceptable on a college campus level that might not be acceptable say in an adult work environment or in an adult situation.
So, Commissioner Yaki, if young adults cannot be trusted with Free Speech, why are we allowing them to vote?
Tags: civil rights, college, first amendment, speech codes, university