University of Oregon: Student’s Four-Word Joke Results in Five Unconstitutional Disciplinary Charges

    In June, a student yelled “I hit it first” out of a dorm window. She’s now being charged with five conduct violations.

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    Four-Word Joke Results in Five Conduct Charges for University of Oregon Student

    EUGENE, Oregon, August 26, 2014—The University of Oregon (UO) has filed multiple, blatantly unconstitutional conduct charges against a female student who jokingly yelled “I hit it first” from a dormitory window. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is calling on UO to immediately dismiss all charges against the student and reform its unconstitutional speech policies. “The University of Oregon’s absurd overreaction is the real joke here, and it’s not very funny,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “Using an unconstitutional speech code to punish a student […]

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    University of Kansas: Anti-NRA Tweet Results in Professor’s Suspension

    The University of Kansas placed Professor David Guth on administrative leave after he posted a controversial tweet about the NRA.

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    University of Alaska Fairbanks: Complaint Over Student Newspaper’s Articles Results in Months-Long Harassment Investigation

    University of Alaska Fairbanks student newspaper The Sun Star was subjected to sexual harassment investigations nearly a year after Professor Jensine Anahita filed complaints.

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    University of Delaware Releases Results of Residence Life Survey

    The University of Delaware has released the results of three of the questions on a survey about this year’s Residence Life program. Regular Torch readers will remember that last year’s program, before it was suspended, involved major violations of students’ rights to privacy, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech. The survey asked students about “10 key issues, including the voluntary nature of the program, as well as privacy and rights being respected,” according to Matthew Robinson, chairperson of the Senate Student Life Committee, as reported by UDaily, the University of Delaware’s official news source. According to UDaily: About 51 […]

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    Facebook rant results in student’s suspension

    by David Ingram NBC Universal   HICKORY, N.C. – A Facebook post has gotten a Catawba Valley Community College student suspended and banned from campus. Marketing student Marc Bechtol said it was satire and free speech, but the college isn’t laughing. It all started with Catawba Valley Community College’s branded debit card. It doubles as Bechtol’s student identification. It’s something he said he told the school he didn’t want. It’s also something that came anyway, asking Bechtol to verify personal information he didn’t want a financial services company to have. Bechtol said he activated it because, according to the card […]

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    Colorado Announces Results of Churchill Investigation

    Check out the article “U. of Colorado Will Investigate Allegations of Misconduct Against Controversial Professor”  (subscription required) in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education: Administrators at the University of Colorado at Boulder have affirmed that the First Amendment protects statements made by Ward Churchill, the ethnic-studies professor who likened victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks to “little Eichmanns.” But a seven-week review of the professor’s work, they said, turned up allegations of research misconduct that should be investigated by a faculty committee and could lead to disciplinary action, including his dismissal. FIRE started that Churchill’s speech was protected in our February […]

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    In Defending Free Speech, Bollinger’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Results

    The American Constitution Society’s Harvard Law & Policy Review recently ran an engaging interview with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger in which Bollinger discusses free speech issues on both a national and global level. I recommend reading it in full.   At one point in the interview, HLPR asks Bollinger about the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s recent holding in Ward v. Polite, arising from a claim by former counseling graduate student Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University. (For more on that case, read Will Creeley’s two-part breakdown here and here.) Regarding the Sixth Circuit’s opinion, […]

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    Bowdoin College Throws the Book at Professor over Embarrassing Research Results

    Doug Lederman at Inside Higher Ed reports today on FIRE’s case at Bowdoin College, where a professor and his research have been investigated after he distributed copies of a research paper that embarrassed the college in front of prospective students. Economics professor Jonathan Goldstein, who has been at Bowdoin for 29 years, was interested in the amount that a college’s academics appear to suffer as a result of emphasis on athletics. His research showed that among 36 colleges, Bowdoin came in last, with the greatest amount of lost academic potential. Goldstein was interested in what prospective students and their families […]

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