Hampton University: Punishment of Students for Literature Distribution

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Hampton University

Hampton University students were not allowed to pass out literature on campus without university consent. After a student group was punished for handing out anti-Bush literature, FIRE sent a letter to Hampton, asking them to reaffirm their commitments to the First Amendment. Hampton decided not to expel the students but they were still sentenced to community service, despite Hampton’s commitment to free speech and expression.

  • Network Aims to Help Harassed Campus Conservatives

    December 26, 2005

    WASHINGTON—Though Christopher Flickinger calls himself “dean” and poses in parodistic photos waving a small American flag and looking stern, he says he’s never been more serious about eliminating what he claims is pervasive anti-conservatism on college campuses today. “When I was on campus, I had no help,” the recent Ohio State University graduate told FOXNews.com. “I was harassed, intimidated, shouted down.” Flickinger, schooled in broadcast journalism, said he wants to provide the support he never had as a lonely conservative in college. That’s why in November he launched the Network of College Conservatives to act in part as “a link […]

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  • FIRE Protests Students’ Punishment for Handing Out Anti-Bush Flyers

    December 13, 2005

    A Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) spokesman says the group is concerned about Hampton University’s commitment to free expression. In November, police officers at the Virginia school confronted seven students who were passing out flyers protesting President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Later, the students were charged with “posting unauthorized materials” and threatened with expulsion. However, after FIRE sent a letter to Hampton University protesting its actions, the school decided not to expel the students, instead sentencing at least five and possibly all of them to 20 hours of community service each. But FIRE program manager Robert Shibley […]

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  • Clash of campus freedom, civility

    December 11, 2005

    When Tariq Khan staged a one-man demonstration against military recruiters, he felt safe because he was on a college campus. Then he was arrested. “When the police officer started to handcuff me, I was pretty surprised,” Khan said last week. “Usually we tend to think of college campuses as sort of safe havens for this type of thing, for people who want to raise consciousness about controversial issues.” Most colleges and universities, whether public or private, pride themselves on adhering to principles of free speech and expression as protected by the First Amendment. But at many schools, the practical problem […]

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  • Five HU students must do community service

    December 3, 2005

    HAMPTON—Seven Hampton University students who took part in a walkout last month will find out next week they’ll be disciplined for not getting the university’s approval for the event. But one student said he and four others received letters late Friday saying they would be required to complete 20 hours of community service. “The community service is reasonable,” said student Aaron Ray. “But what we had to go through to get to this point was not reasonable.” The 19-year-old is from Columbia, Md. Disciplinary hearings were held Friday for the students accused of violating several policies in the 2004 student […]

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  • Partial Victory for Free Speech at Hampton

    December 6, 2005

    HAMPTON, Va., December 6, 2005—Hampton University in Virginia has decided not to expel at least five of seven students for passing out anti-Bush flyers without university approval. Hampton students’ ability to pass out literature without university censorship was the subject of a letter sent by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to Hampton late last week. “While we are relieved that the students were not expelled merely for passing out flyers, the fact that Hampton punished the students at all contradicts its alleged commitment to free speech,” remarked FIRE President David French. Seven students at the private institution […]

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  • College News Roundup

    December 5, 2005

    [Note: This Columbia Spectator article incorrectly idenitified Hampton University as “Howard University.”] [Hampton] University heard the case of seven students charged with distributing unauthorized flyers, holding an unapproved protest, and proselytizing to students on Friday morning. The university will announce how it plans to punish these students next week, though five of them have already been assigned 20 hours of community service. The seven students were part of a group of 20 that handed out flyers about the Iraq war, the genocide in Darfur, and other political issues as part of a campaign by the World Can’t Wait, a national […]

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  • HU parents breathe sigh of relief

    December 4, 2005

    As a parent who sent a kid away to college, I felt the collected exhale of the parents who learned that their Hampton University students wouldn’t be expelled. The students had their hearings Friday. But on Thursday, Bennie McMorris, the university’s vice president for student affairs, confirmed they wouldn’t be sent home. Instead of getting paddled out the door, they would get a “slap on the wrist” for a “minor offense.” That’s the outcome I predicted to Arthur and Tanya Ray last week. They are the parents of Aaron Ray, one of the students who received a letter about an […]

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