This past weekend, columnist George Will spoke at Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) December commencement ceremony, after university officials rebuffed students’ demands that he be disinvited. Will’s speech was not free from protesters, but thankfully it was free from disruption. The strategy employed by those objecting to Will’s presence stands in stark contrast to that of protesters at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) last week, who brought an event featuring Peter Thiel to a premature end.» Read More
In recent weeks, FIRE has seen some worrying examples of the phenomenon FIRE President Greg Lukianoff describes in his book Freedom From Speech: students demanding to be shielded from ideas that make them uncomfortable, and colleges and universities ceding to those demands. FIRE Director of Policy Research Samantha Harris responded to these incidents in The Des Moines Register on Saturday, warning that the trend will leave students ill-prepared for life after college and less able to effect the changes they wish to see in the world.» Read More
Category: The Torch
FIRE released its 2015 report and interactive infographic on campus speech codes across America today. FIRE’s findings show that more than half of the 437 schools analyzed maintain policies severely restricting students’ right to free speech.» Read More
Category: Press Releases
Every year, FIRE rates over 400 colleges and universities around the country on how well they respect free speech on their campuses. This year, the results are once again disturbing. Check out the static infographic below (or, better yet, check out the interactive infographic) to see what we found this year.» Read More
Category: The Torch
Last Thursday, University of Kansas (KU) lecturer Art Hall filed a lawsuit (PDF) in state court to prevent the institution from releasing his email correspondence in response to an open records request filed by the KU student group Students for a Sustainable Future. The student group sought information about Hall’s relationship to Charles and David Koch, who are substantial donors to the university. Hall is the executive director of the Center for Applied Economics, which operates within KU’s School of Business, but he had previously worked with Koch Industries.» Read More
FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project has already seen several victories for free expression on campus. Earlier this month, two institutions agreed to revise their speech codes and abolish their “free speech zones” within a day of each other—but far too many institutions still maintain such zones. A thoughtful editorial published in the University of South Dakota’s student-run newspaper The Volante on Wednesday criticizing the school’s limitations on speech led FIRE staff to take a closer look at USD’s free speech zones, and we made a bizarre discovery.
One of USD’s free speech zones doesn’t exist.» Read More
George Will, like too many other speakers, is no stranger to requests that he be disinvited from college campuses. In October, students at Scripps College in California successfully petitioned the college to rescind Will’s speaking invitation. Later that month, students and faculty at Miami University of Ohio attempted—and failed—to have Will disinvited from a campus engagement. Fortunately, Michigan State University (MSU) is following Miami University’s lead in standing by its invitation to Will, who is scheduled to speak at the university’s December commencement ceremony.» Read More
Last night, entrepreneur and libertarian Peter Thiel was taking questions from students gathered to hear him speak at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) when scores of protesters broke into the venue and shouted Thiel down, halting the event. The Berkeley Forum, the student organization that hosted the event, later criticized the protesters for depriving Thiel and audience members of the opportunity to “engage in productive discussion.”» Read More
Yesterday, we covered statements made by United States Senators during the first half of yesterday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on the role of law enforcement in combating sexual assaults on campus.
Today, we’ll analyze the testimony provided by the witnesses who spoke during the second panel of that hearing, including Angela Fleischer, Assistant Director of Student Support and Intervention for Confidential Advising at Southern Oregon University; Kathy Zoner, Chief of the Cornell University Police Department; and Peg Langhammer, Executive Director of Day One Sexual Assault and Trauma Center.» Read More
In October, Arizona State University (ASU) Undergraduate Student Government (USG) senator Isabelle Murray was impeached after her peers charged her with speaking to the student newspaper The State Press without notifying USG leadership in advance. A press release from USG enumerates the grounds for impeachment, which also included her allegedly releasing the details of a student’s private case with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and failing to attend meetings. Though FIRE has no position on the latter charge (Murray claims those meetings interfered with classes), USG was wrong in citing Murray’s constitutionally protected speech as justification for impeaching her.» Read More