Central Michigan University: Abridgement of Freedom to Display Patriotic Symbols

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Central Michigan University

At Central Michigan University, an administrator told several students to remove various patriotic posters (an American flag, an eagle, etc.) from their dormitory. On October 8, a Residential Advisor told them that their display was "offensive," and that they had until the end of the day to remove the items. As one student said, "American flags or pictures that were pro-American had to be taken down because they were offensive to people." FIRE brought the case to the attention of CMU’s President, Michael Rao and soon after, the University reaffirmed its obligations to the First Amendment and expressed regret at the actions of some residential dormitory staff.

  • Victory for Free Speech at Central Michigan University; President Rao Defends and Affirms Free Speech and the Bill of Rights

    November 7, 2001

    MOUNT PLEASANT, MI-In a case that had achieved widespread national attention, students at Central Michigan University (CMU) secured a major victory for liberty when the University reaffirmed its obligations to the First Amendment. President Michael Rao, in a letter to FIRE today, made clear that any residential staff who asked students to remove materials from their dormitory doors acted without understanding his administration’s commitment to the Bill of Rights and to freedom of expression. Students had been asked by residential staff to take down displays in support of military action against terrorism. When the facts were brought to his attention […]

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  • FIRE’s Letter to President Rao

    October 23, 2001

    October 23, 2001 Mr. Michael Rao, President Office of the President Central Michigan University Warriner Hall Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 Dear President Rao: As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, FIRE unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, freedom of religion, due process and – as in this case – freedom of speech on America’s college campuses. Our web page, www.thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities. FIRE is profoundly […]

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  • Footnotes of an America United

    September 26, 2001

    Airport officials in Oakland, California are upset that 1,000 badges that will get you into secure areas in the Oakland International Airport are missing. That’s 10 percent of the 10,000 such badges that exist. The Port of Oakland President Phil Tagami said this, “bothers me deeply.” And Tagami confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration has criticized that airport for violating its rule that no more than 5 percent of badges be missing. Speaking of port officials, Italian officials checked the contents of a shipping container on the dock in the southern Italian town of Gioia Tauro. When they opened it, […]

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