September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny “free speech area,” the only place that a student was allowed to hand out literature. On the same day, an administrator at Citrus College (also in California) told student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle that he could be removed from campus for seeking another student’s signature on a petition against National Security Agency spying. Vinny, too, was outside that school’s free speech zone.» Read More
Category: The Torch
Schools: Modesto Junior College
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Pennsylvania State University – University Park
Cases: FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Citrus College – Stand Up For Speech University of Hawaii at Hilo – Speech Code Litigation Modesto Junior College: Students Barred from Distributing Constitutions on Constitution Day
How many times have you had sex in the last three months? Just kidding—The Torch doesn’t want to know. But Clemson University did. Campus Reform’s Kaitlyn Schallhorn reported last night that the public South Carolina institution asked its students for this deeply personal information and other statistics of their sex lives as part of a mandatory—yes, mandatory—“Title IX and Campus SaVE Act education program” run through a third-party site. Understandably, students speaking to Campus Reform felt the details of their sex lives were none of Clemson’s business.» Read More
Citrus College in California, like many other colleges and universities around the country, enacted policies to quarantine student speech to a tiny—and unconstitutional—“free speech area.” Last year, student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle was even threatened with removal from campus by an administrator for asking a fellow student to sign a petition protesting NSA surveillance of American citizens outside the college’s “free speech area.” That’s why FIRE announced a lawsuit against Citrus College this July, challenging this policy and others that limited free speech on campus. The college has put enforcement of its unconstitutional speech codes on hold while litigation is in process. In this new video shot yesterday, Constitution Day 2014, you can see the result: not a chaotic campus, but one where students are free to express themselves and engage in real debate and discussion.» Read More
FIRE fans all across the United States will have the chance to tune in to hear FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on three different radio shows today. Greg will be discussing his new book, Freedom From Speech, which launched on September 9, just in time for Constitution Day.
Listeners in the Springfield, Missouri, area can tune in to Mornings with Nick Reed on 104.1 FM KSGF just after 9:00 a.m. Eastern time (8:00 a.m. for Springfield residents). The show will also be live-streamed on KSGF’s website at www.ksgf.com/listen-live. Then in the afternoon, Greg will return as a guest [...] » Read More
Peter Schmidt of The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today on an email that was sent to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi by Seth Brysk of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which Katehi’s office forwarded to campus administrators. The email, the full text of which is publicly available on the Electronic Intifada website, is prompting discussion about how campuses should handle controversial issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it’s not clear whether Katehi was meaning to endorse ADL’s perspective as written in the email or simply informing administrators about ADL’s views, it’s worth looking at a few of the ideas and suggestions in the email and how they interact with the reality of free expression (or the lack thereof) on UC Davis’s campus.» Read More
FIRE staff members will be traveling to Florida State University (FSU) and North Carolina State University (NC State) to speak to student groups as a part of their Constitution Week celebrations. Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, will be speaking at FSU on “Fighting Back Against Speech Codes and Free Speech Zones at Florida State.” Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Senior Vice President, will be speaking at NC State on “Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on Our Nation’s College Campuses.” Students, faculty, and FIRE supporters in both areas are invited to hear the presentations.
FSU Program Information:
When: Thursday, September 18, [...] » Read More
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2014—In a national certified mailing sent today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns the leaders of more than 300 of our nation’s largest and most prestigious public colleges and universities that they risk First Amendment lawsuits by continuing to maintain speech codes that violate student and faculty rights. The letters are being mailed from the main post office near Independence Hall in Philadelphia today to mark the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
“58 percent of our nation’s public colleges and universities restrict student and faculty speech with blatantly unconstitutional [...] » Read More
Today is Constitution Day, and there is no better way to celebrate than by making sure you and your friends (and your enemies!) know your constitutional rights. Earlier this month, Velma Montoya, a former member of the University of California (UC) Board of Regents and former chairwoman of the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, responded to recent censorship at California universities by urging the state’s students to learn about the Constitution so they can stand up for their rights.» Read More
The academic year has barely begun, but it’s already seen several controversies that have students wondering how they should respond to speech that offends or upsets them. For example, students at Yale University recently expressed disapproval towards the institution’s decision to invite women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak, calling Hirsi Ali’s various writings and public statements “hate speech” and even claiming they met the legal standards for libel and slander.» Read More
Category: The Torch
Students, faculty, and FIRE supporters in the Modesto, California, area are invited to hear FIRE Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn speak at Modesto Junior College, home of one of FIRE’s most noteworthy cases, tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in Founders Hall 212. Joe will be speaking about student rights on campus in honor of Constitution Day.
When: Wednesday, September 17, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Founders Hall 212, Modesto Junior College’s East Campus
Who: Joe Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, sponsored by Young Americans for Liberty at Modesto Junior College
All are encouraged to attend!
To invite a FIRE speaker to your school, [...] » Read More