U.S. AG singles out Boise State in talk about freedom of speech

Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 09:51:04-04

Boise State University is among the schools in the national spotlight after a speech by the United States Attorney General.

At the Georgetown Law School on Tuesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a blistering speech on what he calls an attack on freedom of speech at universities. 

"The American university was once the center of academic freedom — a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas," Sessions said. “But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.” 

Sessions then went on to name Boise State University as one example. 

"At Boise State University in Idaho, the Student Code of Conduct prohibits, 'conduct that a reasonable person would find offensive.'  But who decides what is offensive and what is acceptable?" 

Boise State University sent us this statement in response. 

"University leaders at Boise State could not agree more that a 'university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor,' as Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. But the student policy he referred to doesn't sanction offensive speech, but disorderly conduct, including '[c]onduct that a reasonable person would find offensive such as lewd, indecent, obscene, or profane actions.' That policy also specifically recognizes, in its very first section, that 'students enjoy the same freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that all citizens enjoy' and clearly states that 'nothing in the Student Code of Conduct shall infringe on rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.' 
"Boise State recently spent over a year revising its policies that implicate free expression — in partnership with both the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation and the Idaho branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Boise State is committed to supporting free expression and 'the only limits on this expression are to avoid conflict with the normal uses of the campus, the rights of others, and the limitations of lawful conduct,' as stated in university policy. We continuously review and revise our policies as necessary to ensure that commitment."