Rights in the News: No Summer Vacation for FIRE’s Efforts

By on July 17, 2009

As July tilts toward August and the fall semester draws nearer for students, a couple of college newspapers carry stories of FIRE’s work around the country. The Daily Nexus, the student newspaper of the University of California, Santa Barbara, carries the news of FIRE’s recent victory for academic freedom in the case of Professor William Robinson.

Meanwhile, The Rebel Yell of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas reprints an article on students’ online rights that originally appeared in The Minnesota Daily back in June. Centering on FIRE’s defense of Hayden Barnes at Valdosta State University, the article also highlights similar cases FIRE has fought at the University of Chicago and the University of Central Florida. Student rights have been much on the minds of the UNLV community lately; earlier this year the University of Nevada system Chancellor ordered UNLV to scrap a proposed bias incident policy when it became clear that it would constitute a gross violation of students’ free speech rights if implemented. It’s good to see The Rebel Yell keeping on top of the issues facing UNLV students and their rights.

Across the pondway, way across the pondthe Abu Dhabi-based paper The National, in the midst of a 5,000-plus word feature on New York University’s (NYU’s) new Abu Dhabi campus, manages a mention of a recent embarrassment for the university in its confrontation of middle eastern issues: its refusal to allow a student group to show controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed at a campus event. Kudos to The National for doing their homework there!

Finally, a preview of FIRE’s work to come is in the Lincoln Journal Star this week, in an article about UCLA Law Professornot to mention keynote speaker for FIRE’s 10th Anniversary CelebrationEugene Volokh’s petition to the Nebraska Supreme Court to hear the case of a University of Nebraska student found guilty of disturbing the peace on the basis of a series of charged e-mails sent to a political science professor. FIRE signals its intent to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. Torch readers may hear more from FIRE on this interesting case in the coming days.