Rights in the News: FIRE’s Work Continues Following Successful Tenth Anniversary Celebration

By October 30, 2009

Having completed our highly successful Tenth Anniversary Celebration Dinner, FIRE has returned full-bore to its defense of student and faculty rights with an eye towards making the second decade of our existence as fruitful as the first. As usual, the week has had its ups and downs.

While we were excited to announce the dismantling of the free speech zones at the University of North Texas (covered here at Examiner.com), we were aghast at the shunting aside of First Amendment rights at Southwestern College in California, where three professors remain suspended for participating in a peaceful protest. And while we were pleased to see James Madison University do away with the worst aspects of its policy on Obscene Conduct, the pleasure was tempered by the news that at the same school, two student reporters are facing disciplinary charges for trying to do their jobs. John Leo, writing at Minding the Campus, touches on the mess at Southwestern College, and also brings up another appalling FIRE casethat of Professor Thomas Thibeault at East Georgia College.

We’re all the happier, given the long, slow fight this is, to see so many students attempting to raise awareness of illiberal policies in effect at their school. In the last few days, we’ve seen threecoming from Seth Anthony at Colorado State University (who was instrumental in the process of getting rid of CSU’s free speech zone), Jennifer Bollig at Arizona State University, and Stacy Litz at Drexel University. Each of the three can point to any number of FIRE’s cases from over our first ten years to bolster their arguments in favor of liberty on campus. FIRE exits the week reassured that some students out there do indeed get the message, and are passing it on.