Victory: Free Press Vindicated at University of Alaska Fairbanks

    February 11, 2014

    In a victory for freedom of the press, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has cleared The Sun Star student newspaper of any wrongdoing following a prolonged investigation of the newspaper’s content prompted by repeated and meritless complaints from a UAF professor. UAF officials announced the end of the investigation in a letter to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which intervened after the situation had dragged on for more than eight months.

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: University of Alaska Fairbanks


    New Report: 59% of Campuses Maintain Severe Speech Restrictions–But That’s Actually an Improvement

    January 17, 2014

    PHILADELPHIA, January 17, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2014 report on campus speech codes today, finding that 59% of the 427 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that seriously infringe upon students’ speech rights. For the sixth consecutive year, however, this percentage has dropped. Despite this progress, confusing signals from the federal government have created an unacceptable tension between universities’ twin obligations to protect free speech and to prevent discriminatory harassment. Major findings from Spotlight on Speech Codes 2014: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses include: 59% (58.6%) of the 427 schools surveyed have speech codes that clearly and […]

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    Category: Press Releases

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    Prof Returns to Class after CU ‘Harassment’ Claim Fails

    January 10, 2014

    BOULDER, Colo., January 10, 2014—The University of Colorado (CU) has backed down from last month’s cancellation of Professor Patti Adler’s popular and long-running “Deviance in U.S. Society” class after claiming that a lecture on prostitution that involved voluntary student participation could be seen as “harassing.” The rowback comes only days after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the Student Press Law Center issued a public statement to the university warning of the cancellation’s consequences for academic freedom. Adler will teach the course again this spring. “While we’re glad that Professor Adler will return […]

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: University of Colorado at Boulder

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    2013 in Review: Threats from Washington, Victories in the States

    December 30, 2013

    As 2013 comes to a close, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) looks back on a year that was headlined by dire threats to free speech and student rights on campus.

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: Modesto Junior College Oregon State University Eastern Kentucky University Valdosta State University


    California College Suspends Speech Restrictions Amidst Settlement Talks

    December 18, 2013

    FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 18, 2013—Modesto Junior College (MJC) has agreed to suspend enforcement of its “free speech zone” as it negotiates an end to a federal lawsuit filed by a student prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on campus on Constitution Day. A joint stipulation filed in federal district court yesterday by MJC and attorneys for student Robert Van Tuinen states that the parties have agreed on several significant revisions to the college’s “free speech policies and procedures,” pending final approval by the Yosemite Community College District, expected this spring. “FIRE welcomes this development as a sign that Modesto Junior College is […]

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: Modesto Junior College

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    FIRE and Broad Coalition File Brief Defending Free Speech in Student ‘Facebook Collage’ Case

    December 17, 2013

    Late yesterday, 11 organizations joined the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in filing an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief in the case of Barnes v. Zaccari. The brief asks the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reverse a federal district court’s September 2010 ruling dismissing former Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes’ First Amendment claim against former VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari. In spring 2007, Zaccari expelled Barnes for peacefully protesting Zaccari’s plan to construct two parking garages on campus, calling a collage posted by Barnes on his personal Facebook page a “threatening document” and labeling Barnes a “clear and present danger” […]

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: Valdosta State University

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    ‘Blueprint’ No More? Feds Back Away from New Campus Speech Restrictions

    November 21, 2013

    WASHINGTON, November 21, 2013—The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May by the Departments of Education and Justice. The agencies’ settlement with the University of Montana sought to impose new, unconstitutional speech restrictions, due process abuses, and an overbroad definition of sexual harassment and proclaimed the agreement to be “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” But in a letter sent last week to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Catherine Lhamon, said that “the agreement in the […]

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    Category: Press Releases

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    Dixie State University Bans an Alphabet, Tells Women They Can’t Use Greek Letters in Club Name

    October 30, 2013

    Nineteen female Dixie State University students are being forced to fight their own school for the right to use Greek letters in the name of their organization. Indigo Klabanoff and the members of Phi Beta Pi have repeatedly been denied official recognition because administrators feel that the use of Greek letters in an organization name will give Dixie State a “party school” image.

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: Dixie State University

    Lawsuit! Student Ordered to Stop Handing Out Constitutions on Constitution Day Files Suit

    October 10, 2013

    A student who was ordered by college administrators to stop handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day—filed suit today in federal court. Modesto Junior College (MJC) student and Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen is suing the Yosemite Community College District and MJC administrators for violating his First Amendment rights. Van Tuinen is represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and is assisted by FIRE.

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: Modesto Junior College

    Feds Approve University of Montana Sexual Harassment Policy That Threatens Speech; Faculty Who Refuse Training to Be Reported to Federal Government

    October 1, 2013

    WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013—The University of Montana’s (UM’s) new sexual harassment policy threatens the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Drafted in consultation with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the policy was approved by the agencies last week. Faculty members are also alarmed that a list of faculty who refuse to attend the university’s trainings on the new policy will be reported to the federal government. “Not only has the federal government approved an unconstitutional speech code, it has demanded a list of the names of faculty members who don’t attend a training […]

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    Category: Press Releases Schools: University of Montana