At least one observer was not surprised at the outcome: “FIRE picks winners, and they are always legally precise on First Amendment issues,” said Brett Sokolow, President & CEO of the NCHERM Group, a law firm that works with over 50 colleges and universities to craft codes and policies.
Sokolow’s numbers are lower than FIRE’s. He estimates that 25 or 30 percent have speech codes that are overbroad in their drafting or have been applied unconstitutionally: “Many still haven’t gotten the message,” he said.
“FIRE’s point is that you can’t try to enforce civility,” Sokolow said. “You have to teach it. Civility codes are the least effective way to bring about a climate of tolerance and civility. You can’t punish someone into not being a bigot. And imposing restrictions never flies with the court.”
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