Institutional responses to hate speech on campus under philosophical and constitutional analysis.

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Title: Institutional responses to hate speech on campus under philosophical and constitutional analysis.
Authors: Fuentes, Graciela.
Date: 1998
Abstract: The aim of this work is to deduce from the condition of human nature, and taking into account basic principles in Western societies, new perspectives to deal with hate expression in academia. Based on the argument that freedom of expression is a positive individual power which meets both an anthropologic need and the social need of each individual to plead and promote all other rights, this work addresses the false dichotomy: equality-freedom of expression. A theoretical foundation for this study relies on Spinoza's philosophy, especially his assessment of freedom of expression as a positive freedom essential in the social contract, his idea "repression of expression as a harm to individual autonomy" and his distinction between expressions which convey ideas from those intended as action. Those elements are argued to be added to contemporary doctrines. Individuals, free, equal, rational and responsible for their actions, are influenced--but not determined--by their social, cultural and physical environment. They are neither completely independent from society, nor plain passive entities to be directed beyond their wills by irresistible forces. Political society is a complex system where individuals and groups interact. The social function of the law relates to the whole system, thus, the following discussion on freedom of expression considers both: the legal principles and the people, who hold those principles and observe or infringe the law. The purpose is not to present a completely unheard theory but highlight concepts which as agree best with practice could lead to a sound protection of expressions against any concentration of power. The issue of conflicting constitutional guarantees in the resolution of the expression of bigotry has a special angle in campus. In academia, a cooperative system of free, and responsible adults committed to the advance of knowledge, freedom of expression is a fundamental tool both to further knowledge, and to lay down and adjust parameters of intramuros government as well. Thus, any wrong curtailment on expressions on campus amounts a serious risk of impoverishing the intramuros intellectual goals, and of endangering its government. Based on a proposed general theory of expression, two different types of institutional responses to deal with vilifying expressions on campus are discussed: hate-speech codes and "neutrality" policy. While reference to empirical studies is necessary to present the factual context in Western academia, the main concern of the analysis is normative: what ought to be. The complexity of the theme benefits from a comparison between the Canadian and the American experience, especially regarding to the important role which the Supreme Courts in both countries has played in the elucidation of the extent of protection of freedom of expression. Given the enormous weight that the rationales of protection bear, officials should ground limits on expressions on verifiable and effective harm. Given the values at stake and the fight for power developed on campus, they should also avoid absolute neutrality policies. Universities should implement structural measures to deal with the phenomenon of hate speech rather than resort to censorship or absolute laisser faire policies.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/4202
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-10145
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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