FIRE in the News in Oklahoma, California, and New York

By November 19, 2010

FIRE has received a good deal of positive press this week.

From New York, the investigation of Len Audaer, the Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL) student accused of harassment for the contents of the anonymous satirical blog SUCOLitis, continues to make the news. WRVO, a regional National Public Radio affiliate, released a recording and an article last Friday about Audaer’s long-running investigation. Adam, who was interviewed by WRVO, expressed his disappointment over the lack of due process afforded to Audaer and emphasized FIRE’s commitment to make sure he receives justice.

The recent student group controversy at Rogers State University (RSU) also garnered local media attention. Zack Stoycoff, a staff writer for the Claremore, Oklahoma, publication Claremore Daily Progress, mentioned FIRE in three articles on November 13. For the first article, he interviewed student activist Renee Morse-Heenan from RSU, who stressed the importance of FIRE’s involvement in helping her student organization gain official recognition at RSU. In the second one, RSU administrators explained how FIRE’s letter to RSU President Larry Rice encouraged RSU to record "unwritten policies about the student government association and its level of control over student organizations" and to improve the state of student rights on campus. In the final article, Stoycoff demonstrates the broader threat to free speech on most campuses by citing FIRE’s finding that 71% of public universities have policies that violate the First Amendment. He also included FIRE’s list of the most common speech policy mistakes.

Elsewhere, Tony Listi of Campus Reform pointed to FIRE’s Spotlight database as a useful resource in the fight against censorship in his clever article about combating campus speech codes. Meanwhile, former FIRE intern and University of California at Berkeley junior Casey Given praised FIRE’s work in a column for The Daily Californian discussing how his school isn’t living up to its reputation for free speech.  

This was also a good week for FIRE publications. Azhar’s excellent article about why courts should reject qualified immunity for administrators who blatantly abuse students’ free speech rights–printed in the Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal and republished in The Lantern–was highlighted by the Media Law Prof Blog on Tuesday. 

Additionally, my blog post about a University of Georgia student’s attempt to censor "extremist Christian groups," Peter’s blog post about the dangers of recording "bias incidents," and FIRE’s open letter to Bucknell University president John C. Bravman were all reprinted by the Student Free Press Association’s opinion blog, The Quad (here, here, and here). 

Finally, Greg was busy again this week giving interviews and talks. On Wednesday, he delivered a presentation to the Young Americans for Liberty at Indiana University about free speech, speech codes, and academic freedom on our nation’s college campuses. He also discussed the dangers of students "unlearning liberty" with spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, who added some valuable insight of his own about censorship in his article this Thursday.