Stanford's speech code struck down

From staff reports

California's Supreme Court recently struck down the speech code at Stanford University, ruling that it infringed on students' right of free speech.

In the ruling, Judge Peter Stone objected to the text of the code, which stipulated that "Speech or other expression constitutes harassment by personal vilification if it... makes use of insulting or `fighting' words or non-verbal symbols." Stone argued that the wording of this clause was too broad.

The decision ends a year-long legal battle by nine Stanford students, who filed the lawsuit last May.

Although Stanford's code of student behavior, "The Fundamental Standard," was instituted in 1896, the amendment banning harassment was not added until 1990. The amendment was passed in response to an incident where a white student defaced a poster with racial slurs and left it on a black student's door.

Stanford President Gerhard Casper said that the university will not appeal the ruling.

"The 1990 interpretation was written narrowly as a statement of the university's belief that individuals should be free of harassment, intimidation or personal vilification," Casper said.

Casper said that Stanford would continue to "counter prejudice with reason."

Brown loses Title IX suit: Brown University has lost a lawsuit which claimed that the university unfairly limited the number of women's sports offered.

U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Pettine ruled that the university was in violation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender at publicly funded institutions.

Title IX requires a school to provide equal opportunity for all students to participate in athletics and make accomodations for an underrepresented gender.

The lawsuit was filed in 1992 by members of the women's gymnastics and volleyball teams after their programs were cut from the university's budget. Both sports were changed to donor-funded sports, meaning that the programs could still use university facilities but that coaches' salaries had to come from donations.

Pettine disagreed with this policy, claiming that the move to donor sports gave the programs a "second-class status."

Brown officials said they were disappointed and would appeal the verdict.

"The ruling, while not entirely surprising, is extremely disappointing," said Robert Reichley, executive vice president of the university.

Minority enrollment grows: A recent report from the American Council on Education shows that minority enrollment in colleges has increased but still is less than white enrollment.

In its "Thirteenth Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education," ACE found that 33 percent of black high school graduates and 36 percent of Hispanic high school graduates attended college in 1993, and that the percentage of minorities who attend college has risen steadily over the past decade. The study also showed that 42 percent of white high school graduates attended college.

Officials still say, however, that there is a lot of work to do before educational equity is achieved.

"We have a long way to go before we can claim to have achieved equality of educational opportunity and achievement," said ACE President Robert Atwell.

The study comes at a time when the White House is reviewing its position on affirmative action.

"We all have an interest, including white males, in developiong the capacities of all of us to relate to one another--because our economy will grow quicker, it'll be stronger, and in a global society, our diversity is our greatest asset," said President Bill Clinton at a press conference for college journalists in March.


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