Read below to learn about FIRE’s current campaigns for the rights of students and faculty, and get involved by contacting the administrators responsible for violating their rights!
University of Alabama police have ordered a pro-choice student group to cease distributing informational flyers on campus in response to another group’s pro-life event, and threatened members with arrest for failing to comply with its orders. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has intervened at UA following this blatant and chilling abuse of student First Amendment rights.
A professor has filed a free speech lawsuitagainst Purdue University Calumet after the university punished him in the wake of his remarks about Muslims on Facebook. The PUC Muslim Student Association and several students and faculty members had filed harassment complaints against professor Maurice Eisenstein after he criticized moderate Muslims who he believed had not condemned “radical Muslim” terrorism in Nigeria. Two faculty members had also filed retaliation complaints against Eisenstein, who came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
Oakland University in Metro Detroit has suspended a student for three semesters, barred him from campus, and demanded he undergo “sensitivity” counseling because he wrote in a class assignment that he found his instructors attractive. While the course specifically permitted students to write creatively about any topic, the university bizarrely chose to classify his writing as “unlawful individual activities.” Joseph Corlett came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
Auburn University Bans Ron Paul Banner from Dorm Room Window; University Selectively Enforces New Posting Policy
Auburn University has ordered a Ron Paul for President campaign banner removed from the inside of a dorm room window while allowing numerous other banners, stickers, and flags to remain posted. Student Eric Philips, who was ordered to remove his sign in November 2011, gathered photographic evidence of the double standardand came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. Auburn has since claimed the regulations are a matter of “safety,” while continuing with its lax enforcement.
Professor Takes Box Cutter to Students’ Free Speech Wall at Sam Houston State University; Police Threaten Students with Charges over Profanity about President Obama
A professor at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) used a box cutter to cut an insult against President Obama out of a “free speech wall” promoted by four student organizations. When campus police arrived, an officer demanded that the students censor the wall or else face criminal charges for having offended the professor. The students have come to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
Bucknell is on FIRE’s Red Alert list for repeatedly shutting down controversial events by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club, and has responded to FIRE’s public criticism by hiding behind flimsy excuses. Tell Bucknell to stop inventing excuses and allow its students to enjoy the free speech right to which they have been explicitly promised.
Online Rights in Jeopardy at Michigan State University After Punishment of Student Government Leader
Michigan State University (MSU) joined FIRE’s Red Alert list after finding student government leader Kara Spencer guilty of “spamming” and misuse of university resources for criticizing the administration’s plan to change the school calendar. Though MSU dropped charges against Spencer after FIRE intervened, it has made its email use policies even more restrictive and declared that its email system was “not intended as a forum for the expression of personal opinions.”
Colorado College earned the dubious distinction of being placed on FIRE’s Red Alert list because of its disregard for protected speech, obvious display of double standards, and lack of a fair judicial process. After two students distributed a harmless satirical flyer, Colorado College forced them to endure a kangaroo court hearing before finding them guilty of violating the college’s policy against “violence,” in part due to their flyer’s “juxtaposition of weaponry and sexuality.”
Brandeis University is on FIRE’s Red Alert list after declaring Professor Donald Hindley guilty of racial harassment and placing a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Hindley was neither granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing, and a letter was placed in Hindley’s faculty file regarding his allegedly “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements. Brandeis has stated that it “considers this matter closed,” despite the disturbing lack of due process in Hindley’s case, leaving the punishment on his record while closing off his appeal.
Tufts University earned its Red Alert status by finding that The Primary Source (TPS), a conservative student newspaper, violated the school’s harassment policy by publishing two satirical articles: a parody Christmas carol lampooning race-based admissions, and a piece entitled “Islam-Arabic Translation: Submission,” a satirical advertisement consisting of factual statements about Islam and Islamic history. The two complaints were consolidated for a hearing before the university’s Committee on Student Life, which ruled that TPS violated the university’s harassment policy. Though a prohibition against TPS on publishing anonymous articles was later overturned, the finding of harassment against TPS has been allowed to stand.
Johns Hopkins University remains on FIRE’s Red Alert list suspending a student for posting an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on Facebook. The student was initially punished with suspension from the university for a year, completion of 300 hours of community service, an assignment to read 12 books and to write a reflection paper on each, and mandatory attendance at a workshop on diversity and race relations. JHU later introduce chillingly broad “Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All,” prohibiting “rude, disrespectful behavior” at the university.