Curbing the right and freedom of speech, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has passed a bill that gives law authorities the power to imprison any campus employee, who hear a sex joke and doesn’t report it.
The employees failing to report such instances are to be charged under Title IX violation. While many are condemning the Republican Governor’s latest move, they are also claiming that the Republicans are beginning to tighten their grip, by making stern laws on the intrinsic censorship of free speech zones and viewpoint-based security fees.
The SB 212 Bill signed by Greg Abbott claims that the government can sentence any campus worker of imprisonment of upto six months, if he or she “witnesses or receives information” including the hearsay, that can be termed as a sexual harassment and fails to report it to Title IX officials.
This bill has left many worried including students, teachers and even the pro-free-speech organization Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). According to FIRE, the bill poses a great threat to civil liberties of every employee in the educational campus of the state.
They also informed that the correct definition of sexual harassment “is missing any kind of objective, reasonable-person standard, instead conditioning the permissibility of speech (and the requirement to report) entirely on subjective listener reaction. Any definition of sexual harassment that lacks an objective component is unconstitutional.”
However, according to the bill approved by Governor Greg Abbott, the definition of sexual harassment is entirely different. As per the bill, the new definition is “Unwelcome, sex based verbal or physical conduct that: in the education context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution.”
And if the bill is changed to the law, then the failure to report it can lead (1) a fine not to exceed $2,000; (2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or (3) both such fine and confinement.
While many expect Greg Abbott to annul the bill at the earliest as they are unconstitutional, one thing which is clear is – with the upcoming elections, the Republican controlled Senate is willing to do anything that violates human rights to appease its conservative masses.