Daily Egyptian

Letter to the editor: How the Student Conduct Code relates to hate speech

By SIU staff member Steve Sawyer

This may be a new idea to many, but the freedom of speech, as guaranteed in the Constitution, can be limited.

It is often limited by voluntary organizations that can hold their members to a higher standard than an unaffiliated citizen. One example is our very own SIU, which states in its Student Conduct Code from section 1.4:

“All members of the SIU community are held to a higher standard of conduct than those who have not chosen to become a part of the university community.” 

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Specifically, the code limits speech by prohibiting the following behavior, from section 2.3.5.1:

“Unreasonable Conduct – Intentional conduct, without a legitimate purpose, which both does cause a person distress or fear and would cause a reasonable person distress or fear. No threat or overt act of violence is required for conduct to be unreasonable.” 

And this from section 2.5.5:

“Disorderly Conduct – Acting in an unreasonable manner which has the potential to disturb or alarm another person or to provoke a breach of the peace.” 

So, as long as you are a student of or employee for SIU, behaving like a racist a-hole is not only ignorant, it is expressly forbidden.

By including these lines, SIU has already made its decision on where it stands on hate speech. Now, it is a matter of these limits being enforced. 

Steve Sawyer, of Carbondale, is an employee at Morris Library.

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