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The office recommended the faculty members be publicly condemned by their dean even though the flyer was constitutionally protected and had violated no university policy.
The dean ultimately rejected EOAA’s recommendation. The statement of core principles also rejects arguments to “equalize” speech in order to address “structural inequalities” that purportedly allow some voices to be heard too much while others are not heard enough.
The Senate will likely consider the matter again this fall.But no person or group, merely by claiming offense, may bring down the disciplinary machinery of the university to prohibit or punish speech on that account.”Together, the [three] proposed Minnesota documents [the statement of Core Principles, the Addendum, and the Recommendations] operate as a reminder that First Amendment rights remain a priority alongside other legal concerns that have come into focus on college campuses in recent years, such as those about inclusion and sex discrimination.In that sense, they echo a recent reportby the American Association of University Professors arguing that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, has been in many cases misapplied and threatened or stifled free speech and academic freedom.But speech may not be curtailed simply because it is offensive.” The proposal to create a free-speech advocate is partly a response to the investigation of faculty members by the university’s office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.The investigation was launched after the EOAA received complaints that the faculty members used an image of Mohammed from the cover of magazine in order to promote, ironically, a discussion of free speech.