Former N.C. State University resident adviser Derek Spicer knew something was wrong when the university imposed a new civility policy for students living on campus last year.
Spicer said he was concerned that the policy, which stated that students must speak civilly and refrain from displaying items that could be disrespectful or harmful to others, might infringe upon students’ free speech rights.
“The policy itself was just so vague,” said Spicer, a 2012 graduate who now registers voters for the state Republican party. “I asked the director of housing what his opinion on it was and had a conversation with my community adviser.”
But after NCSU officials failed to act on Spicer’s concerns, he decided to take his case to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving rights such as free expression on campuses.
The foundation’s senior vice president, Robert Shibley, sent a letter to NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson about the policy — but only received a two-line response.