When federal politicians passed the Higher Education Act, they thought they were only going to help good students who couldn’t otherwise afford college to attend. They did not think about possible unintended consequences — like making college far more expensive, undermining academic standards, or giving federal bureaucrats leverage to dictate to colleges and universities.
But all of that has happened.
I’m going to focus on that last consequence—the way federal intervention in higher education has empowered bureaucrats to whittle away at free speech on (and even off) campus.
A strange case involving a student at the University of Kansas illustrates the problem.
Navid Yeasin was enrolled there in June, 2013 when he was charged by his former girlfriend (“Ms. W.”) of having committed criminal restraint and battery against her. Consequently, university officials imposed a no-contact order on Yeasin. He was not to approach her or to have any direct or indirect communication with her. Fair enough.
But when the fall semester began, she complained to school officials that, because of Yeasin’s sexual harassment, she was still experiencing fear, anxiety, depression, and nightmares. Therefore, the university repeated the no-contact order against Yeasin, warning him that he could be disciplined not only for contacting Ms. W, but even speaking about her.
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