Why Does Talking About Sex Now Make You a Sexual Harasser?

"In a land of freedom, we are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness." That is what Redskins quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III recently tweeted. Mr. Griffin has a point. We are constantly walking on eggshells to avoid offending someone, for if we do we face dire consequences. This is especially true on college campuses. Students suppress views different from those of their professors in order to protect their grades. Students refuse to share their unpopular opinions, for if they do, they will be ostracized by the student community. Now students must also not express their feelings for people they are attracted to, for if they do, they can be charged with sexual misconduct.

Recently, in a letter sent to the University of Montana, the Departments of Justice and Education have effectively mandated an overly broad definition of sexual harassment that includes offensive verbal conduct of a "sexual nature." This new definition means that if a male student asks out his crush, and said crush does not want anything to do with her would-be suitor, the male student could be accused of sexual harassment. Why? Because his crush found his proposition to be offensive. Moreover, this definition has other implications inside the classroom. If a heterosexual voices his opinion against gay marriage, a gay student can turn him in. In the same way, if the heterosexual is offended by his counterpart's stance he could do the same. Additionally, the mandate says the offense to the sexually related speech can be for any reason, not just sexual reasons. In other words, if you offend someone when talking about sex, you're a sex offender.

However, it is important to note that this policy is not being implemented to rid campuses of the aforementioned behavior. Wendy Kaminer, contributor to The Atlantic, agrees. Kaminer said in a recent article, "The stated goal of this policy is stemming discrimination, but the inevitable result will be advancing it, in the form of content based prohibitions on speech. When people demand censorship of 'unwelcome' speech, they're usually demanding censorship of the speech that they find unwelcome." Essentially, Kaminer is saying the proposals made have several unintended consequences. But there are other legitimate criticisms of these policies as well. On their TV series, the libertarian comedic duo Penn & Teller dissected similar limits to free speech at the University of New Hampshire and UC-Santa Cruz. As Penn Jillete says, "We don't have a fucking right not to be offended! ... College should be more free, not less."

Outrageously, this mandate is intended as a blueprint for all colleges and universities across America. This policy can be implemented at your children's colleges, your alma mater, or the school you attend! What's more, this is an attack on the civil liberties of all Americans. This nation's Founding Fathers valued freedom of speech so much that they made it the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. All forms of speech are protected by this fundamental right, whether offensive or otherwise. This mandate, if not challenged, sets a dangerous precedent for an American thought police, not to mention the infinite number of lives it could ruin. Are you upset? Good — you have resolved to fight for our rights. Want something else to be mad about? The media blackout of this story. My guess is that this is the first time you're hearing of this attack on free speech. What is to blame for that? You guessed it — political correctness.

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Krystian Seebert

An aspiring political writer, libertarian-leaning conservative, Villanova University student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Economics and Chinese. And I have a love/hate relationship with Bill Maher.

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