Department of Education Orders Colleges to Ban Dirty Jokes on Campus


The Department of Education. What would we possibly do without it? Sure, we might actually be producing graduates who can read, write and take us to the moon. But this is so much better.

There’s a certain irony in the veterans of the counterculture overseeing the transformation of the college campus into a strange split personality in which sensitivity rules all, but obscenity is art. Until someone from a protected victim group is offended.

In a letter sent yesterday to the University of Montana that explicitly states that it is intended as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” the Departments of Justice and Education have mandated a breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every student in the United States a harasser while ignoring the First Amendment. The mandate applies to every college receiving federal funding—virtually every American institution of higher education nationwide, public or private.

The letter states that “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature'” including “verbal conduct” (that is, speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not even be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation”—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.

If you want a sample of what this type of standard looks like in real life.

It all started Sunday at the PyCon event in Santa Clara, Calif., when Adria Richards, a developer evangelist for e-mail vendor SendGrid, overheard some jokes being told by two men seated immediately behind her at the conference.

After tweeting the photo, she sent a followup tweet that said “Can someone talk to these guys about their conduct? I’m in lightning talks, top right near stage, 10 rows back #pycon.”

She notes on her blog that the conference’s code of conduct states that “offensive jokes are not appropriate for PyCon.” Richards concluded her blog by saying she was taking a stand for the next generation of coders. “Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard,” she wrote

The man on the left side of the image was subsequently fired by PlayHaven, one of the sponsors of the conference. His dismissal was confirmed by PlayHaven CEO Andy Yang in a blog post today.

Now apply these same standards to the college campus and things get interesting.

The OCR has long taken the view that, just as Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination has been read as prohibiting speech or conduct that is “severe or pervasive” enough to create a “hostile, abusive, or offensive environment” based on sex for plaintiff and for a reasonable person, so Title IX (the educational analog) does the same for speech and conduct in educational institutions. Colleges and universities, according to the government, must therefore institute speech and conduct codes that ban such speech and conduct.

The government’s pressuring the creation of such codes in either public institutions or private institutions would likewise violate the First Amendment. But the government takes a different view. Though it agrees that “harassment” codes shouldn’t be read in ways that violate the First Amendment (which is tautologically true), they apparently think that a great deal of speech “of a sexual nature” on campuses is unprotected by the First Amendment

Obama Inc. doesn’t think the First Amendment protects Catholics and Jews from being forced to violate their religion for abortion’s sake, so why should it imagine that it protects campus speech?


  • RebeccaJean

    I'm old enough to remember the time when most of us just moderated our speech depending upon where we were and the people we were around. If there were children, you kept your language clean. Around the elderly it would be much the same. And likewise for the men when they were around women they didn't know. Sure, there were always pigs who didn't care and said off-color things, but we either ignored them, gave them a dirty look or for the more bold among us, actually called them pigs and got on with our life. Instead of always mandating, how about people insisting that we exercise common sense and allow for breaches by those who just don't care. I think it's called individual liberty. The control freaks among us must be stopped now.

    • Micha Elyi

      "Can someone talk to these guys about their conduct?"–Adria Richards

      She herself couldn't do the talking, of course. She's a weak, helpless female who needs a MAN to speak for her.

      Adria Richards should be drummed out of the Feminist Club by other feminists – unless, of course, feminists don't actually mean what they say about women's equality, personhood, or self-empowerment.

      • Mary Sue

        they don't want equality. They want superiority. After all it's their 'turn' to do the oppressing ;)

  • S.Smith

    I agree Rebecca. It was a question of self-control and well just plain manners.!
    Most people knew " how to behave" in front of others. The idea someone could tell your dad ….arghh!!!!
    If obscene people want to be obscene up to them. i don't want to be around them, up to me, my choice and Our freedom.
    Liberals and their adored Muslims are behind this absurdity, as they all hate freedom and love tyranny. What will they eventually do if banning does not work, which it wont, suspend them , or arrest them all ?

    • RebeccaJean

      I agree the left-wing totalitatians are behind it. It seems they are trying to see how much people will put up with before they finally say enough. It's the same thing with the "bullying classes" that they had at the New York middle school where they had the girls act like lesbians and ask other girls for kisses or pretending that they were on a lesbian date. It seems most people were upset that they weren't notified of the material so they could have had their children opt out. I would have been furious that they
      had that sort of presentation at all. Just tell kids that bullying is bad and to report it to a teacher or principal if you see it. There is absolutely no reason for a big production unless you are trying to propagandize, indoctrinate and control.

      • S.Smith

        Very well said Rebecca.

  • LibertarianToo

    Interesting that they try this with the Univ of Montana. Why not NYU? Why not UC Berkeley? These fascists will try anything, but they like to make sure the victims of their heavy-handed assaults on the Constitution aren't Obama supporters.

  • AdinaK

    The Dept of Education has been at the forefront of all that is wrong with academia, in conjunction with Bill Ayers and his gang of domestic terrorists. They are now the "teacher's trainers" from K-12 and beyond. And the left's hegemonic rule encourages every grievance group to put forth PC, policing mandates. Never mind, if one is a white male, Christian or Jewish, well, then anything done to this "privileged" group is considered fair game.

    Is it any wonder that this is the new "normal", and it has been building up for decades –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Tan

    This will go too far. Next thing you know, they will have you arrested for telling your girlfriend or your wife that she's pretty. Or they'll one day make evangelizing traditional marriage at college "sexual harrassment" because it offensive gays or something like that. Or they'll have you arrested for saying that polygamy or slavery in Islam is wrong because it's "sexual harrassment" or offensive to Muslims. These "harrassers" will be the next "terrorist threat" under the Left's control over the US.

  • butpygmies

    Anybody remember – How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? That's not funny! —

    There's no laughing in modern cor-rectum-itude.

    What an angry society we have become…