Neither Mucaj nor Karal directed the epithet toward anybody in particular, but uttered it out loud as part of a juvenile game that tested the other’s willingness to shout obscenities. Now, they say the university is using a vague policy to punish them for speech that, while offensive, is constitutionally protected.
Asheen Phansey was fired on Thursday for a satirical Facebook post he made about President Donald Trump’s threat to bomb 52 sites “important to Iran & Iranian culture.”
“Through the use of three policies –a ban on chalking, a prohibition on student emails related to campaigns and elections, and a Campus Climate Reporting System–Iowa State University has created an elaborate investigative and enforcement regime designed to chill speech concerning political and social issues of public concern,” Speech First said in a statement on its site.
Invoking President Donald Trump’s recent executive order targeting anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses, the complaint accuses the Columbia administration of failing to address discrimination against Jewish students on its campus.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on the state of free speech on college and university campuses. In this year’s analysis, the majority of the schools (64%), scored a yellow light rating, and just 11% earned a green light designation. However, it’s important to note that in the past decade, that number has increased from just eight institutions in 2009 to 52 in 2019.
The order that calls for agencies to apply Title VI civil rights law to discrimination against Jewish people. Critics of the executive order worry that the new definition anti-semitism is too broad and will be used to censor legitimate opposition to the Israel.
“The issue wasn’t that the SGA email said ‘Protest Trump and you’ll be kicked out'," a student at the University of Alabama said. "The issue was that the timing was suspect, and seemed intended to have a chilling effect on students who may have been planning on booing or protesting."
While the boys’ language was undoubtedly offensive, civil liberties groups say the statute used to arrest them is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.