PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Greg Lukianoff, the President and CEO of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, talked with Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about FIRE’s new film, Can We Take A Joke? and to discuss issues of free speech on college campuses.
Lukianoff said that students used to be to most vocal advocates for free expression on campuses, but that has begun to change.READ MORE: Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Involving Ocean City Beach Patrol Members Under Investigation
“Students, who were probably once our best allies when it came to free speech on campus, are increasingly demanding more speech codes without seemingly understanding that they’re saying please restrict more of our rights.”
He cited a new poll that he thinks points to the erosion of what types of speech students now think deserves protection.
“Around 75 percent said that they should ban racist or sexist speech on campus. This is totally out of whack with the way the rest of Americans think. That’s regardless of what race background or economic class they come from,” said Lukianoff. “Most Americans understand that if you’re protecting speech and you’re not protecting offensive speech, you’re not protecting speech.”READ MORE: Multiple Faiths Joining Forces To Combat Philadelphia's Rising Gun Violence
Lukianoff stated that their new film, Can We Take A Joke?, was developed after a number of comedians decided to stop playing colleges because of the numerous complaints they received about offensive material. He said many comedians were happy to participate in a movie that seeks to grow the understanding of the value of speech.
“The thing that I’m most excited about in the movie, we try to trick people into learning freedom of speech and basic principles like that, but it also came out to be extremely funny.”
He believes comedians, as well as many other public figures, are worried about the growing resistance to ideas that challenge people’s sensibilities.MORE NEWS: 2 Mothers, Babies Rushed To Hospital After Being Rescued From Burning Frankford Apartment Building, Officials Say
“They’re all worried that it seems like we’re getting off on outrage too much, that social media, in particular, has allowed us to create these outrage tribes…We talk a lot about the outrage mob.”