University speech bias and suppression commentary

Greg Piper:

George Mason University eliminated its speech codes nearly four years ago, but didn’t adopt a formal statement defending freedom of expression until late last year.

What is more notable: The public university has flipped the script on bias reporting.

On its new “Free Speech at Mason” page, the northern Virginia school features a “Submit a Report” button at the top left. Here’s what it says: “If you believe your right to free speech has been infringed at Mason, you may submit an incident report by clicking on the button below.”

The message is repeated in bold at the bottom of the free-speech statement:

If you believe your freedom of speech or expression has been disrupted, you may report an incident of disruption of constitutionally protected speech by clicking on the “Submit a Report” button on this page.

The button goes to a “Free Speech Reporting Form” that asks users to share details of the alleged infringement, including who was involved, location and the user’s affiliation with the university.

Many universities tell students to report any speech or behavior that might conceivably show “bias” – never mind threats or harassment – and then teams of officials, sometimes including law enforcement, investigate those complaints.