Northeastern Illinois University: Suppression of Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Northeastern Illinois University

At Northeastern Illinois University, administrators had warned the members of the College Republicans that both the students and the group would be punished if they held a campus protest against affirmative action. NEIU Dean of Students Michael Kelly e-mailed the student organization informing them that the protest would violate the school’s nondiscrimination policy. Dean Kelly wrote that “[v]iolating University rules can and will result in charges being filed,” and that “any disruption of university activities that would be caused by this event is also actionable….” FIRE wrote the school, demanding the group be allowed to stage their protest as it is within their First Amendment rights to do so. The university soon relented, and the College Republicans were allowed to hold the bake sale with “no preconditions.”

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  • Baking With Fire

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  • Bake Sale Battles Continue: FIRE Gains Victory at NEIU, Turns Sights on Grand Valley State University

    April 8, 2005

    CHICAGO, April 8, 2005—In a victory for free speech on campus, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) has decided to allow the College Republicans to hold an affirmative action bake sale protest on campus with “no preconditions.”  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) received written confirmation of the change on Wednesday afternoon, less than 36 hours after publicizing NEIU’s unconstitutional threat to punish the College Republicans if they held the protest.  At the same time that NEIU changed course, however, FIRE learned that Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan was proceeding with plans to try the GVSU College Republicans […]

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  • E-mail from NEIU Dean of Students Michael Kelly to Brian Geier, April 6, 2005

    April 6, 2005

    From: Michael Kelly [mailto:mtkelly@neiu.edu] Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 3:05 PM To: ‘brian geier’ Subject: Bake Sale Dear Brian, I am confident that FIRE knows that NEIU proposed alternative methods for the College Republicans to communicate its message.  John Tait and I met again yesterday about a couple of matters, one of which was what I was able to learn further on bake sales as political commentaries.  He is aware that the club can hold its bake sale without pre-conditions.  We likewise discussed the value of informing potential customers of the primary intent of the activity so that they can […]

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  • Northeastern Illinois University Bans Affirmative Action Bake Sale, Threatens Protestors with Punishment

    April 5, 2005

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  • FIRE Letter to NEIU Legal Adviser Mark Dunn, March 25, 2005

    March 25, 2005

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  • FIRE Letter to NEIU President Salme Steinberg, March 8, 2005

    March 8, 2005

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  • E-mail from NEIU Dean of Students Michael Kelly to John Tait, February 18, 2005

    February 18, 2005

    From: Michael Kelly [mailto:mtkelly@neiu.edu] Sent: Friday, February 18, 2005 2:35 PM To: John Tait Subject: Republican Club Bake Sale Dear Mr. Tait, As I was unable to reach you by telephone, the nature of my call is as follows: My office has been informed that the College Republicans are planning a Bake Sale in Village Square on Friday, February 25th where lower prices for baked goods will be charged to non-white, non-male purchasers as a commentary about Affirmative Action Laws.  Please be aware that, even if you plan to charge less to minority and female customers (as it was described to […]

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