After seven years, the legal battle between the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC Wilmington) and Professor Mike Adams has finally come to an end. Back in 2007, Adams sued UNC Wilmington, alleging that it retaliated against him for political viewpoints he had expressed in columns written for non-university publications. With a key federal appellate court win in 2011 and a jury verdict in his favor earlier this year, Adams has had an impressive run—and UNC Wilmington is smart to settle with the professor at last.
Sexual assaults on university campuses have become a hot topic in Washington, state legislatures, and in the news. With consistent reports (like this one from The New York Times) of institutions botching their responses to these cases, FIRE has long argued that campuses are ill-equipped to adjudicate these cases and that the guilt or innocence of those accused of such heinous crimes should be determined by courts with the help of law enforcement, forensic evidence, and all the structures of formal adjudications that make their findings more reliable. For a more detailed explanation of FIRE’s position on campus [...] » Read More
After months of planning the conference, wrapping up last-minute details, and reading students’ enthusiastic conference applications, I cannot wait for the conference to begin on July 25 at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia. Last year was my first time at the FSN Conference, and almost a year later, I am still moved by the keynote speakers, my colleagues that spoke, the students I met, and the stories I heard. Even late [...] » Read More
FIRE is pleased to announce the launch of a new organization, Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), dedicated to defending due process on campus. FACE president and co-founder Sherry Warner Seefeld is the mother of Caleb Warner, who was falsely found responsible for sexual assault by the University of North Dakota in one of FIRE’s best-known due process cases. Co-founders Judith Grossman and Allison Strange are mothers with similar experiences. FIRE looks forward to working with FACE on due process issues in the years to come.» Read More
Earlier this month, FIRE intervened at Boise State University (BSU), where administrators saddled the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) with an unconstitutional security fee for hosting an event featuring gun rights activist and former Supreme Court litigant Dick Heller. BSU attempted to justify the fee by pointing to alleged concerns about a non-student encouraging attendees to openly carry firearms at the event—despite the fact that YAL had publicly cautioned that such behavior was prohibited. We warned BSU that its policies allowing the imposition of security fees on speech based on the potential reaction [...] » Read More
There’s just one day left to apply for the FIRE Student Network Conference! As it is, nearly 60 percent of the more than 400 schools in FIRE’s Spotlight database clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech. The good news, however, is that this percentage has been declining consistently, if slowly, for six consecutive years. Established legal and moral doctrine are on our side, and we can win this battle for student rights. But we can’t do it alone.
We need your help. In just ten minutes, you can take a significant step towards accelerating the establishment of [...] » Read More
We’re thrilled to report that, for the second time in three years, a FIRE short film has won a prize at FreedomFest’s Anthem Film Festival. FIRE’s film “Don’t Cage My Speech! A Student Schools His College” played to audiences at FreedomFest last week, and Ted Balaker, the film’s director, won the award for Excellence in Filmmaking, Short Documentary on Saturday night. The film’s articulation of the legal challenge—and defeat—of the University of Cincinnati’s unconstitutional “free speech zone” and of free speech’s importance in higher education in eight short minutes is a testament to Ted’s [...] » Read More
FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project has received a lot of attention since it was launched on July 1—much of it from free speech advocates who recognize the need for court cases aimed at striking down campus speech codes. Today, Bloomberg View columnist and FIRE Board of Directors member Virginia Postrel writes to address remarks from some skeptics of the project, including those who advocate for free speech zones.
Mark G. Yudof, the former president of the University of California (UC) system, recently weighed in on the state of free speech on the American college campus today. Pointing to this year’s “disinvitation season,” Yudof rightly lamented the tendency of too many students to advocate for or condone the suppression of ideas that they consider offensive or abhorrent. This message is especially welcome coming from the former head of an enormous public university system and a former constitutional law professor.
Writing for The Jewish Daily Forward, Yudof recounted instances in which he had himself responded to speech [...] » Read More
Category: The Torch
Schools: University of California
Cases: Nationwide: Colleges Across the Country Disinvite Commencement Speakers
Last week, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight’s Majority Staﬀ released a report (PDF) examining college and university responses to allegations of sexual assault on campus. Commissioned by Senator Claire McCaskill, the report bases its analysis on a survey of 440 institutions conducted earlier this year, also commissioned by Senator McCaskill.
The report provides further evidence of the readily apparent inability of colleges and universities to fairly and effectively adjudicate criminal misconduct, but disappointingly fails to acknowledge the serious due process concerns presented by recent mandates imposed by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [...] » Read More