Help FIRE Defend Liberty on Campus

By February 23, 2012

This year is shaping up to be an important one for campus liberty. In the past two months alone, we celebrated the inclusion of the University of Mississippi on our exclusive list of "green light" schools, won an important legal victory in Barnes v. Zaccari, and secured a quick resolution to an outrageous case at Syracuse University. Each of these victories provides testament to our continued commitment to defending the expressive rights of students and faculty on campus. And, of course, today we announced a lawsuit aimed at removing an unconstitutional speech code at the University of Cincinnati.

But a new threat to liberty on campus is on the rise. With administrators less able to regulate their students’ speech, they are increasingly telling them what they must and must not believe—even regulating religious faith itself—if they wish to be treated equally with other students. FIRE is rushing to meet these attacks on religious liberty, but in order to win this fight, we need your help.

One need look no further than Vanderbilt University to see how real these threats are. Vanderbilt recently announced that political and religious student groups at the university must open their membership to everyone, even to those who do not share the group’s beliefs and in fact seek to undermine them. Under this policy (.PDF), evangelical Christian groups are not allowed to require leaders to believe in the tenets of the Bible, and groups advocating for gay rights must accept members who are actively hostile to their efforts.

Unfortunately, Vanderbilt isn’t alone. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s sharply divided 2010 ruling in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, many public universities are heading in this direction. 

There is no better time to join FIRE’s fight. With your help, FIRE can defend true diversity and ensure that future leaders learn the lesson of liberty, not repression. Today, consider supporting FIRE with a $10, $25, or $50 donation. Every dollar counts.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all donations you make today are 100% tax deductible.

Schools: Vanderbilt University Cases: Nationwide: “All-comers” Policies Jeopardize Free Association Vanderbilt University: Refusal to Approve Constitutions of Student Groups that Require Leaders to Share Beliefs