On January 17, 2014, Colorado State University-Pueblo Professor Tim McGettigan emailed all students and faculty, criticizing the administration’s plans to terminate up to 50 positions at the school. McGettigan’s email evoked the Ludlow Massacre, a 1914 attack on striking miners and their families that resulted in numerous deaths. That same day, administrators accused McGettigan of violating a policy that prohibits using email “to intimidate, threaten, or harass other individuals,” and deactivated his email account without warning. CSU-Pueblo defended its actions by citing safety concerns, referring to shootings that occurred at other schools. FIRE wrote a letter to President Lesley Di Mare, explaining that McGettigan’s email was protected speech and did not come close to constituting legally unprotected threats, intimidation, or harassment. McGettigan’s email access has been partially restored, but he remains unable to use university mass email lists.
January 29, 2014
The Flat Hat, the student newspaper at The College of William & Mary, points out this week that for yet another year, the university can boast of its “green light” rating for free speech. As The Flat Hat observes, William & Mary is one of an elite few institutions nationwide that maintain policies respecting free speech rights. Depressingly, 58.6% of the schools rated in FIRE’s Spotlight on Speech Codes 2014 report receive a “red light” rating for maintaining at least one clearly unconstitutional policy. The article correctly notes: The problem, for many schools, seems to be striking a balance between […]» Read More
January 22, 2014
Last week, Colorado State University – Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) abruptly cut off Professor Tim McGettigan’s access to his email account after he sent an email to students and faculty criticizing the university system’s leadership. McGettigan was told that he had violated the school’s policy against using email “to intimidate, threaten, or harass other individuals”—a policy that allows for account deactivation in situations where safety is at risk. But as FIRE pointed out in a letter (PDF) sent yesterday, McGettigan’s email comprised only constitutionally protected speech, not threats or harassment. Today, McGettigan’s email account has been partially reactivated, but he still cannot send emails to large groups of […]» Read More