Liberty on Campus in 2007: FIRE’s Year in Review

December 28, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, December 28, 2007—In 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) continued its fight against restrictive policies and practices on college and university campuses across the country. FIRE combated disturbing trends in censorship and thought reform while securing essential victories for freedom of speech and expanding programs to defend liberty on campus.
 
“2007 saw significant victories for student rights, both in courts of law and in the court of public opinion,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “FIRE fought hard against campus repression wherever it arose, and many students this year are freer as a result.”
 
FIRE won many victories for free speech, religious liberty, freedom of association, and freedom of conscience throughout 2007. These successes included:
 
 
2007 also brought several key legal victories for student rights on campus. FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project achieved the latest in a string of successes when a federal judge ordered San Francisco State University to stop enforcing several unconstitutional speech codes. Speech codes suffered yet another blow when a federal judge in Philadelphia struck down Temple University’s sexual harassment policy as unconstitutional. And FIRE announced the settlement of the lawsuit between Occidental College and former student shock jock Jason Antebi, who sued the school for maliciously violating his freedom of speech and due process rights when it fired him and found him guilty of “harassment” for jokes both on and off the air.  
 
“Speech codes have met with defeat whenever they have been challenged in court, and 2007 was no exception,” FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Samantha Harris said. “Courts continued to hold the line when it comes to protecting the First Amendment rights of college students, despite the attempts of university administrators to apply the speech standards of public high schools to adult college and university students.”
 
FIRE also continued its education programs to inform the public about violations of students’ and faculty members’ individual rights on campus by:
 
 
“In 2007, FIRE worked diligently to improve the state of liberty at our nation’s institutions of higher education,” Harris said. “Thanks to our generous supporters, our committed allies, and our exceptional staff, we will be vigilantly monitoring America’s campuses to make sure we are able to bring about further campus reform in 2008.”
 
CONTACT:
Samantha Harris, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473; samantha@thefire.org