The proposed “Policy on Bias Incidents/Hate Crimes” put forward by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas would limit severely restrict free speech and academic freedom on campus.
The policy defines bias incidents as “verbal, written, or physical acts of intimidation, coercion, interference, frivolous claims, discrimination, and sexual or other harassment motivated, in whole or in part, by bias.” The policy does allow for an exception for statements that are used to promote intellectual inquiry, but does not go far enough to protect the First Amendment rights of students or faculty. Hurtful or inflammatory speech protected under the United State Constitution would be prohibited under this policy on the UNLV campus. The ACLU argues that the best cure for bad speech is more speech, not a speech code.
The ACLU of Nevada reached out to UNLV President David Ashley, who expressed willingness to meet and discuss changes to the policy that would bring it in line with the Constitution. The ACLU also reached out to the Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Jim Rogers. Rogers is also calling on UNLV to rewrite their hate crimes and bias incidents policy.
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