The University of Florida drew criticism from FIRE after the administration was critical of students promoting an event showing the controversial film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Several student groups-including UF’s Law School Republicans, College Republicans, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Law Students Association-had posted fliers to advertise a November 13, 2007, screening of the film. The fliers used the headline, “RADICAL ISLAM WANTS YOU DEAD.” Vice President for Student Affairs Patrica Telles-Irvin e-mailed all students at UF stating that “the groups that posted [the fliers] owe the campus, and particularly campus members of the Islamic faith, an apology and a clarification.” FIRE wrote to Telles-Irvin, reminding her that the students were protected under the First Amendment, and warning the administration’s message was creating a “chilling effect” on campus. Telles-Irvin then wrote all UF students, assuring them of their right to free speech, and making clear the students promoting the film would not be punished.
December 12, 2007
No stranger to free speech issues of late, University of Florida officials are now under fire for criticizing students who recently hung fliers on campus reading “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.” State Attorney General Bill McCollum claims UF officials stifled free speech by asking the students who posted the fliers to apologize for offending Muslims. In a Dec. 3 letter, McCollum accused Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students.” McCollum’s office said as late as Tuesday that he was still unsatisfied with UF’s response to his concerns, and he […]» Read More