The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has abandoned an attempt to force the owner of a website called The Dark Side of UCSB from using the letters “UCSB” in his web address. FIRE protested UCSB’s unconstitutional threats, and on the very same day that UCSB received FIRE’s letter, the university notified Mr. Baron that it would stop pursuing the matter. “We are relieved that UCSB has come to its senses and realized that it may not prohibit those who might criticize the university from using the university’s name,” remarked FIRE President David French. “UCSB twice told Mr. Baron, whose website is critical of the university, that it was a crime to use the UCSB name without the university’s permission. It is simply absurd for a public university to claim that it cannot be criticized by name.” This case is a victory for anyone who wishes to criticize universities without fear of criminal prosecution.
February 9, 2005
The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) has backed down from an attempt to prohibit a critic’s expression of dissent. UC’s legal counsel has announced the school will no longer pursue legal action against a website that points out problems on its campus. The university recently threatened parent James Baron with criminal sanctions if he did not remove the university’s name from his website — “www.thedarksideofucsb.com” — through which he accuses UCSB administrators of responding poorly to security problems and a high crime rate on the campus. However, an academic freedom and civil liberties advocacy group came to Baron’s […]» Read More
February 8, 2005
CALIFORNIA – The owner of a Web site that criticizes the University of California at Santa Barbara was notified on Feb. 1 that the university will not seek legal action against him, following the school’s previous request that he remove the school’s name from his site or face criminal sanctions. The university dropped its removal efforts the same day the school received a letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, stating the University of California at Santa Barbara’s actions were unconstitutional, and after James Baron placed a disclaimer on his site that distinguishes it as separate from the […]» Read More
February 7, 2005
Following a complaint and threat of litigation from a civil liberties group, the University of California has chosen not to pursue a legal battle against a website critical of UCSB. In November of 2004, the university asked James Baron, the father of a former UCSB student, to remove the letters “UCSB” from his website, thedarksideofucsb.com. UCSB officials said Baron’s use of the trademark violates a section of the California Education Code, and visitors could confuse the site with a campus-affiliated entity. On behalf of Baron, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote a letter to Chancellor Henry Yang […]» Read More