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
Due Process Advocates Take Critical Look at How Colleges Are Dealing with Sexual Assault Allegations
With colleges and universities revising their sexual assault policies for the new academic year and legislation on the horizon that could have serious repercussions for campus due process, it is critically important for policymakers to stay committed to protecting the rights of all students. Advocates for due process are stepping up to ensure that as new rules for dealing with campus sexual assault are crafted, key legal principles are not forgotten.» Read More
Sometimes, the enforcement of an unconstitutional speech policy can be an eye-opening experience for college administrators, leading to a greater understanding of the need for precise language that appropriately protects speech rights on campus. This appears to be the case at Boise State University (BSU), which late last week formally agreed to work toward revising some of its policies in order to ensure that they comply with the First Amendment and the ideals of higher education.» Read More
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Popehat’s Ken White aren’t the only ones criticizing University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks for his half-hearted celebration of the 50th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement (FSM) last week. Members of the FSM itself are speaking up.» Read More
Joining the editorial boards of the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register, columnist Debra Saunders took to the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday to criticize California legislation that would require colleges and universities receiving state funds to adopt an “affirmative consent” policy for campus sexual misconduct.» Read More
Category: The Torch
PLYMOUTH, N.H., September 12, 2014—Plymouth State University (PSU) has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After working with FIRE to ensure its policies comply with the First Amendment, PSU has become the 20th institution nationwide—and the second institution in just two months—to earn FIRE’s most favorable rating for free speech on campus.
“Plymouth State is to be commended for its commitment to free speech,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “As one of only 20 schools to earn a green light rating [...] » Read More
Yesterday afternoon, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees voted 8–1 against appointing Steven Salaitato a teaching position in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Last month, just weeks before Salaita was set to begin teaching at UIUC, Chancellor Phyllis Wise informed him that she would not have the university’s Board of Trustees vote on his appointment—a step that many consider a mere formality in the hiring process. Since then, those watching the case have been split on whether Wise’s decision not to bring Salaita’s appointment to the the Board, which was based on a series of controversial tweets Salaita posted to his personal Twitter account, violated principles of academic freedom, or whether UIUC was within its rights to not hire Salaita.» Read More