A free speech warning sign has been photographed on display, reportedly on Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
The sign warns students reading “ATTENTION FREE SPEECH BEING EXERCISED AHEAD[.] Topics could be upsetting to some.”
The sign also informs students of options to combat: “engage in a civil manner, decline respectfully and continue on, [or] alter your route now.”
The photo was shared by the Twitter account @libsoftiktok.
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 24, 2022
According to the University’s Equity and Inclusion Division, “Indiana University encourages discussion from a variety of different perspectives and viewpoints on all of its campuses… IU will protect, as far as possible, the physical safety of invited speakers, their supporters and protestors without regard to their views or the identity of their sponsors.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has issued Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Yellow light rating for its restrictions on student speech.
“Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application” explains FIRE.
The Indiana legislature recently banned free-speech zones on college campuses. The new law explicitly states “that a state educational institution may not: (1) designate an outdoor area on campus as an area where protected expressive activities are prohibited” and “ Allows a court to award injunctive relief, compensatory damages, reasonable court costs, and attorney’s fees to an aggrieved student or student organization if the court finds that a violation occurred.”
The legislation also “allows a court to award compensatory damages up to $50,000” for student and student organizations who believe their right to free speech has been violated on campus.
Campus Reform recently reported a similar sign photographed on Colorado State University’s campus. The sign promoted resources for students who have been “affected by a free speech event on campus.”
“If you (or someone you know) are affected by a free speech event on campus, here are some resources,” the sign read.
A growing majority of college students fear that campus policies stifle free speech. Campus Reform reported the Knight Foundation’s recent “College Student Views on Free Expression and Campus Speech” report which revealed that only 47% of students feel their free speech rights are “secure,” while 65%” believe that their campus stifles free expression”, according to the report.
University officials did not respond to Campus Reform’s requests for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.