UPenn Fraternities Can Now Be Fined $500 for ‘Insensitive Messages’

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A new policy at the University of Pennsylvania levies a $500 fine on any fraternity that uses “insensitive” language.

A report from The UPenn Statesmen details a new speech restriction at the University of Pennsylvania, which involves $500 fines for those found guilty of a violation.

The new policy outlines certain speech restrictions, such as one for “discrimination or hate against another group.” Fraternity groups on campus that make “insensitive fraternity-sponsored messages” will be forced to pay a $500 fine. The fines are handed down by the Judicial Inquiry Board, a small group of staff that rule on issues relating to fraternities and sororities at UPenn.

One can question the policy without defending hateful messaging. The issue with the kind of policy in place at the University of Pennsylvania is that it can be subjectively applied to punish a wide variety of expression. Could the university now punish a fraternity for hosting a comedian who makes an “insensitive” joke? Does inviting an anti-affirmative action guest speaker to campus count as “discrimination” under the policy? Based on the policy’s broad language and the ability of the Judicial Inquiry Board to make their own subjective ruling, this seems like a real possibility.

When speech restrictions are determined by subjective determinations of what is or is not “insensitive,” they create an environment where students self-censor as a precaution.

It is important to note that the new policy contracts the university’s “guidelines on open expression,” which state that “the substance or the nature of the views expressed is not an appropriate basis for any restriction upon or encouragement of an assembly or a demonstration.”

It is unclear if any fraternity has been punished under the new rule. Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.

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