As campus speech codes enjoy a renaissance surrounding microaggressions and trigger warnings, understanding how and whether such speech codes can stand up to constitutional scrutiny is crucial. This project offers a historical overview of the evolution of free speech in U.S. history, with a particular focus on the jurisprudential history of hate speech and the “first wave” of litigation surrounding campus speech codes in the 1980s and ’90s. I use two theoretical frameworks, liberalism and communitarianism, to analyze the judiciary’s response to speech codes and to understand whether that response aligns with either framework. Lastly, I offer three proposals for future consideration of speech codes in the courts, with an emphasis on current speech controversies. My primary research question is this: Have the judiciary’s decisions regarding campus speech codes been more similar to a liberal or a communitarian conception of speech, and should a new approach be considered as colleges move into a new era of speech regulations?
O'Neill, Madeleine G., "Microaggressions, Trigger Warnings, and the Fight to Redefine Free Speech: An Analysis of the Judiciary's Response to Campus Speech Codes Through Liberal and Communitarian Perspectives" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7222.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar
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