FIRE in the News: Adam Tours the Sunshine State and American University Refuses Intrusive DOJ Grant

By April 4, 2011

Adam has been very busy the last two weeks delivering speeches at six Florida universities. In anticipation of Adam’s lecture on Monday at the University of Central Florida (UCF), KnightNews.com, an independent news source serving the UCF area, published an editorial strongly encouraging students to attend the talk and expressing its support of "every citizen’s right to free speech at UCF." We at FIRE appreciate KnightNews.com‘s endorsement as well as its principled stance on individual rights.

Adam also visited Rollins College, where a column critical of illegal immigration led to a productive campus-wide discussion. Mike Lafferty of the Orlando Sentinel quoted Will and mentioned our most recent speech code report, Spotlight on Speech Codes 2011: The State of Free Speech On Our Nation’s Campuses, in a column about the varied responses to the illegal immigration article. 

Adam is also featured in a video this week with Ted Balaker of Reason.tv (re-posted by the Student Free Press Association and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit) regarding FIRE’s support of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor James Enstrom, who is facing retaliation from UCLA after publishing politically inconvenient research about air pollution and leading a successful whistleblowing campaign against the California Air Resources Board. Ed Morrissey wrote about the interview on Hot Air and encouraged his readers to learn about the case on FIRE’s website.

Torch readers will recall that American University recently blocked a campus initiative aimed at addressing and preventing sexual assault on campus that would have made the university eligible for a $300,000 grant from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The initiative, among other projects, would have required all students to fill out two sexual assault surveys per year that asked very intrusive questions. Amanda Hess posted a blog on TBD that compared American University’s argument for rejecting the potential DOJ grant to FIRE’s argument against Hamilton College making the "She Fears You" orientation program mandatory. Hess quoted Will, who explained why programs that "editorialize" like the two aforementioned examples catch FIRE’s attention, while purely fact-based sexual harassment programs do not.

Robert continued the conversation with a blog entry on The Torch taking a look at the requirements for the DOJ grant and outlining sections of it that could lead to potential violations of students’ individual rights. Blogger Helen Smith agreed with Robert’s take as well as American’s decision over at Dr. Helen (see the March 31 blog post).

Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute blogged on Cato@Liberty supporting our principled stance against Widener University School of Law for threatening to fire and denying due process to Professor Lawrence Connell after he used Dean Linda L. Ammons as a character in class hypotheticals.

Over at the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal Online, Donna Martinez reminds readers, with the help of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, that even speech with which one disagrees can be an integral part of discourse, as the cases of Alexandra Wallace and Snyder v. Phelps remind us.

As we’ve reported, a controversy erupted at the State University of New York at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) when the student government demanded that the editor of Brockport’s student newspaper The Stylus resign after allowing a column highly critical of the Brockport student government treasurer to be printed. In an article about the situation by James Goodman of the Democrat and Chronicle, Robert was quoted as arguing that student government funding of a student newspaper doesn’t imply ownership of that newspaper.

Finally, David Copeland, a communications professor at Bridgewater State University (BSU) and FIRE supporter, writes on his blog David Copeland about delivering class lectures about free speech, criticizing BSU’s speech-restrictive policies as well as those of other schools in FIRE’s Spotlight Database. If only there were more professors like Copeland!

Schools: University of California, Los Angeles Cases: University of California at Los Angeles: Non-Reappointment of Controversial Professor