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    Only Six Months Away! Register Today for FIRE’s 15th Anniversary Gala

    By on April 23, 2014

    Where will you be six months from today? FIRE hopes you’ll be with us at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City!

    That’s right—we’re are only six months away from FIRE’s big 15th anniversary celebration. On October 23, 2014, FIRE will host a gala dinner in New York, where are our friends, supporters, staff, and the students and professors we help will gather together to celebrate all that FIRE has been able to accomplish since we were founded back in 1999. We only do this once every five years, so we hope many of you will take this special opportunity to join us.

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    Category: Events


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    Virginia Postrel Asks, ‘How Much Free Speech Will Your Child Have at College?’

    By on April 23, 2014

    In a must-read piece for Bloomberg View, author, columnist, and FIRE Board of Directors member Virginia Postrel speaks to prospective college students and their parents about what they need to know before attending college. Postrel writes that while asking questions about a university’s social life and post-graduation job prospects is important, students and their parents need to inquire about their future school’s policies and practices toward free speech.

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    Category: The Torch


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    Glenn Reynolds in ‘USA Today’ on Heavy-Handed Admins Suppressing Speech on Campus

    By on April 23, 2014

    Those new to The Torch or to FIRE’s work might be shocked to see that some colleges and universities punish even crystal-clear instances of protected expression. Take, for example, the Game of Thrones T-shirt worn by Bergen Community College (BCC) Professor Francis Schmidt’s daughter, which BCC claimed was a “threat” that warranted punishment. But as ridiculous as cases like this seem, it is critically important to remember that they are not outliers—similarly egregious First Amendment violations happen at campuses across the country. University of Tennessee law professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds argues in a column for USA Today published yesterday that Schmidt’s case and similar incidents are a symptom of college administrators growing in number and in power.

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    Category: The Torch Schools: Bergen Community College


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    Disinvitation Season Continues at Azusa Pacific University and Elsewhere

    By on April 23, 2014

    Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California has “postponed” a scheduled talk by Charles Murray, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of (among other works) The Bell Curve, citing “the lateness of the semester” as well as “the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship.” The university claims that it will host Murray on campus for a “thoughtful and meaningful dialogue” in the 2014–2015 academic year.

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    Category: The Torch Schools: Brandeis University Rutgers University – New Brunswick


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    Princeton Admins Force Censorship of Interactive Art Installation

    By on April 22, 2014

    From April 13 through May 3, a group of students at Princeton University are asking, “What will you bring to The Surface?”

    “The Surface” is an interactive art installation consisting of approximately 224 square feet of white wooden boards set up on the lawn on which anyone can draw or paint—or even censor— the work of visitors before them. Veterans of free speech walls would not be surprised by what the students have brought to the installation thus far: a range of thought-provoking questions, angry rants, cute drawings, some profanity—and the inevitable penis drawing. But the last of these was apparently a step too far for Princeton administrators. A panel containing such an illustration was removed, and was returned to the project’s creators only when the offending material was painted over.

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    Category: The Torch Schools: Princeton University


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    FIRE’s ‘Spotlight’ Database Featured in New ACTA Report

    By on April 22, 2014

    Today, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) released a report (PDF) finding that America’s leading public colleges and universities boast exorbitant costs and education services that don’t match their price tags. In addition to shedding light on problems like excessive administrative overhead, the new ACTA report claims that free speech on campus is in trouble.

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    Category: The Torch


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    Student Spotlight: Kelly Barber, a Leader for Liberty and Student Rights at U. of Florida

    By on April 22, 2014

    Kelly Barber stands out as a leader at the University of Florida (UF) and has been actively involved with FIRE, most recently attending FIRE’s Leaders in Student Rights Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kelly, now a member of Students For Liberty’s North American Executive Board, says she experienced the undeniable benefits of free and open debate when she began attending College Libertarian meetings, where she was “blown away by the environment of integrity, critical thinking, and tolerance they created” that allowed students “to exchange ideas on a level much higher than anything I ever experienced in classes.”

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    Category: The Torch Schools: University of Florida


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    U. of Jamestown Students and Staff Push Freedom of the Press Legislation

    By on April 21, 2014

    A group of students and staff at the University of Jamestown (UJ) in North Dakota are pushing for legislation that would protect student journalists. Though the text of the bill has not yet been finalized, its advocates intend the “New Voices Act” to be a comprehensive law that would protect the expression of students in high school and public and private colleges.

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    Category: The Torch


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    C-SPAN Airing FIRE Debate Tonight!

    By on April 21, 2014

    Tonight at 8:00 p.m., C-SPAN will be airing FIRE’s “State of Free Speech in America” panel discussion and debate held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Audience members enjoyed a stimulating conversation that ranged from international censorship of speech to academic freedom to the efficacy of the First Amendment in the new digital age. The panelists’ spirited but respectful disagreements over the fundamental necessity of freedom of expression made for an exciting event, so be sure to catch this broadcast!

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    Category: The Torch


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    Western Michigan University Bans Rapper, Burdens Free Expression

    By on April 18, 2014

    Have you ever been a participant in, or vocally supportive of, the “Occupy” movement? Have you ever spoken in favor of (or against) a controversial cause or idea? Is there something about you that is susceptible to being unreasonably interpreted as even mildly suspicious? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, good luck speaking your mind on Western Michigan University’s (WMU’s) campus—at least without the watchful gaze of law enforcement constantly surveilling you and your listeners.

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    Category: The Torch Schools: Western Michigan University