University of Central Florida: Censorship of Internet Speech

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida student Matthew Walston was charged with “harassment” and “personal abuse” after he created a Facebook group entitled “Victor Perez is a Jerk and a Fool.” After the university scheduled a hearing for Walston for February 6, 2006, FIRE intervened. The university subsequently determined that Walston was not guilty.

  • College Athletes Caught in Tangled Web

    May 24, 2006

    Four San Diego State students recently logged on to a computer and did what thousands of other college students do these days during their spare time. They were having fun on MySpace.com, posting personal party pictures and commentaries about life in college. Some included references to drinking alcoholic beverages and snide remarks about recent soccer practices, according to a student colleague of the four. But because the four students were athletes – in this case women’s soccer players – they suffered a penalty for it. When they didn’t heed their coach’s warning to stop posting on the site, they were […]

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  • Lack of Legal Precedent Poses Major Problem for Schools

    May 22, 2006

    School administrators are increasingly asked what kind of cyberspeech causes campus disruption. As more students — from elementary school to college — network online, more are being punished for their postings. Last month, five Etiwanda High School students were suspended for creating an “unharmonious school atmosphere” after posting vulgar language in criticizing a teacher. Traditionally, schools do not interfere with behavior at home, but local school officials say they will act if activity from home computers causes school disruption. Greg Lukianoff, president of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said he has seen an upswing in free speech cases involving […]

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  • University presidents battle for honors in spinelessness

    May 1, 2006

    It’s time for this column to announce its Sheldon Award, given annually to the university president who does the most to look the other way when free speech is under assault on campus. As all Sheldon fans know, the prize is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except that the Oscar shows a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way. The award is named for Sheldon Hackney, former president of the University of Pennsylvania and a modern legend in looking the other way. College presidents, […]

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  • Student Wins Facebook.com Case at University of Central Florida

    March 6, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla., March 6, 2006—First Amendment rights on the Internet were recently vindicated at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Until the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened, a UCF student was set to be punished on harassment charges for calling a student government candidate “a jerk and a fool” on the popular college website Facebook.com. “It’s deeply troubling that a student anywhere in America could face trouble for such mild statements on a website,” remarked FIRE Interim President Greg Lukianoff. “However, we are pleased that UCF seems to have come to its senses.” Last September, UCF undergraduate […]

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