Hate speech is protected speech. The idea is to respond with more speech, to defeat bad speech, not to restrict it. That presumes the population is rational and can distinguish personal attacks. At a university one expects the search for truth. A higher priority now, i.e., not hurting people's feelings (The Therapeutic State) takes precedent over free expression. In his book, Free Expression, Harvard Law Professor Archibald Cox said, "Freedom of conscience and expression enjoys primacy in our scale of rights [. . .] The framers [. . .] knew also that a man burdened with an idea has a need, even feels a moral duty, to express it. The thinking man or woman, the man or woman of feeling, the novelist, the poet or dramatist, the artist, and especially the evangelist can experience no greater affront to their humanity than denial of freedom of expression." Massachusetts Civil Rights Law Chap. 265, Sec. 37, extends protections of rights to non government actors. It is a felony to intimidate "any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the constitution or laws of the commonwealth or by the constitution or laws of the United States."
After a Harvard Law School student made a public comment many perceived as anti-Semitic, the school plunged into a debate about free speech on campus, and Law School Dean Martha L. Minow quickly denounced the statement as “offensive.”
Now, two weeks later, University President Drew G. Faust has affirmed that free speech does not mean the speaker should be protected from backlash.
“You’re free to say what you want,” Faust said in an interview Wednesday. “You're also free to take the hits for saying things that are stupid or prejudicial or uninformed. Those two things go together.”
For Faust, Free Speech Entails Accountability
By ANDREW M. DUEHREN and DAPHNE C. THOMPSON
May 6, 2016
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If a threat is criminal there are campus police, city police and state police available to investigate.
The letter—which was published in the Harvard Law Record on May 3 and signed by leaders of 11 student groups, including Reclaim Harvard Law—also calls on students to petition Law School Dean Martha L. Minow to “upstand” for Muslim students at the school. In recent speeches, Minow has urged students to be “upstanders” and actively combat injustice.
After Threats, Muslim Law Students Condemn ‘Tepid’ Response
By CLAIRE E. PARKER
May 6, 2016