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May 17, 2013

If You Thought Campus Speech Codes Were Too Permissive, Take Heart!
The Government Is Now Demanding They Make Them Uniformly Stricter

There is a legal concept of a hypothetical person, called the Reasonable Objective Person.

In cases where someone claims, for example, to have been offended, the law doesn't just say "give this person some money or other legal satisfaction because she says she's upset." That would be a subjective standard, in which every delicate eggshell limits your ability to move through the world.

Usually they say the question is not about how the complaining witness claims she felt subjectively herself, but how the Reasonable Objective Person in her shoes would have thought.

Note the Reasonable Objective Person standard limits this sort of complaint, because while a very thin-skinned complainant might honestly be offended, that doesn't mean she wins the case. She was, subjectively, offended. But the question remains-- would the Reasonable Objective Person have been offended? If not, an honest but overreacting complainant is told she loses.

But no more. Now the government says this Reasonable Objective Person standard is sexist and racist.

The letter contends the conduct in question need not be offensive to an "objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation." That means that there is effectively no check on what might count as harassment.

Now we're all going to be judged by the standard of the thinnest-skinned, complainiest people who exist, and the Reasonable Objective Person will have nothing to say about it.


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posted by Ace at 06:12 PM

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