The Danger of Campus Bans on Bullying

By John K. Wilson


Colleges are increasingly adopting policies to ban bullying on campus. But these prohibitions on bullying pose serious risks to freedom of expression at colleges and universities. Antibullying policies are often vague and ill-defined. Taking a concept originally used to define misconduct by one child toward another and applying it to adults in higher education is a step that endangers free speech. Antibullying policies are particularly dangerous because they can be used by administrators to punish dissenting faculty and whistleblowers. Instead of taking the risky step of punishing bullying on campus, colleges ought to enhance protections for free expression and due process, so that individuals can speak out against bullying without having to fear dire consequences.

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