University of Central Florida

Location: Orlando, Florida
Website: http://www.ucf.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Central Florida has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

  • University of Central Florida: Professor Suspended for In-Class Joke

    April 26, 2013

    On April 23, 2013, Hyung-il Jung, a lecturer in UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, held a review session for an accounting course, at which roughly 25 students were present. During the session, Jung noted that his students seemed to be struggling with his questions and joked, “It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these questions. Am I on a killing spree or what?” On April 24, after a student complained about Jung’s remark, UCF placed Jung on paid administrative leave, barred him from entering the Rosen College campus, required him to complete a mental evaluation, and […]

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  • University of Central Florida: Speech Quarantined to ‘Free Assembly Areas’

    November 1, 2006

    After instituting “Free Assembly Areas” around campus, constituting a small percentage of the actual grounds, the University of Central Florida drew criticism from FIRE for its disregard of the First Amendment. After twice preventing The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from protesting under the Golden Rule’s “Free Assembly Areas” policy, the University of Central Florida then further diminished students’ First Amendment rights by implementing a “Free Assembly Areas” policy from the Student Union, a policy inconsistent with the Golden Rule’s, recognizing different areas on campus as free speech zones. The SDS was forced to cease protesting, even though they […]

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  • University of Central Florida: Censorship of Internet Speech

    January 31, 2006

    University of Central Florida student Matthew Walston was charged with “harassment” and “personal abuse” after he created a Facebook group entitled “Victor Perez is a Jerk and a Fool.” After the university scheduled a hearing for Walston for February 6, 2006, FIRE intervened. The university subsequently determined that Walston was not guilty.

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Yellow Light Policies
Green Light Policies
  • The Golden Rule: Student Rights and Responsibilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Statement

    The
    basic freedoms of students to hear,
    write, distribute, and act upon a variety
    of thoughts and beliefs are guaranteed.
    Freedom of expression carries
    with it the responsibility for seeing
    that the essential order of the University
    is preserved.

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  • The Golden Rule: Rules of Conduct- Harmful Behavior 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Harassment: defined as conduct (including written or electronic communication)
    based on a protected category (such as race, color, religion, national origin, et al),
    which, due to the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct and its targeted nature
    on the basis of a protected category, (i) has the purpose or effect of creating an
    objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment; and (ii)
    has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment,
    schooling, or business with the University

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  • The Golden Rule: Rules of Conduct- Sexual Misconduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other conduct of a
    sexual nature which, due to the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct and
    the targeted nature of the conduct on the basis of sex, objectively prevents or
    impairs another person’s full enjoyment of the educational benefits, atmosphere,
    or opportunities provided as part of the University

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  • A new argument for hate-speech laws? Um … no

    February 4, 2014

    by Jonathan Rauch at The Washington Post You know, it’s actually kind of refreshing to read a good old-fashioned listener’s-veto critique of the First Amendment. Like sleeve garters, this is not something we see much of anymore. In a recent Daily Beast article, Thane Rosenbaum of Fordham Law School points out that hate speech and the like can cause serious pain and suffering. From there he jumps to the conclusion that such speech should be restricted. “Free speech should not stand in the way of common decency.” Hmm. That’s a big jump, from harm to restriction. Of course homophobic and anti-Semitic expressions hurt […]

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  • 2013′s dumbest campus free speech cases

    December 30, 2013

    by Robert Shibley at The Daily Caller

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  • Free speech on college campus is worth the price

    August 23, 2013

    When it comes to speech, Florida’s university campuses are some of the most oppressive places in this state.Administrators have become increasingly tyrannical in their interpretations of the First Amendment.There appears to be more concern over protecting delicate sensibilities on campus than looking after students’ and faculty’s basic rights.Look at some of the campus assaults on free speech in Florida so far this year:•At Santa Fe College in Gainesville campus police tried to block a group of students in February from staging an "empty holster" protest in favor of gun rights. •A Florida Atlantic University professor asked students in March to step on a piece of […]

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  • U of Central Florida punishes student, then rips off his idea

    August 16, 2012

    There’s a classic joke that the definition of chutzpah is killing your parents and then begging the court for mercy because you’re an orphan. The University of Central Florida (UCF) has now updated that joke for the Internet age: after punishing a student for inventing a better way to search for available classes, it copied his ideas and rolled out its own solution. The victim of this unfunny joke is UCF senior Tim Arnold, who developed a system to find classes with available seats at UCF and send students a text message when those seats were available. The (now inactive) […]

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  • Flunking free speech

    December 24, 2007

    In 1995, the liberal New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis advised his young readers—a constituency he mistakenly assumed existed—that if they felt wounded, were abnormally thin-skinned, or desirous of professorial protection against a delicate sensibility, they might consider enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an institution possessing rigorous safeguards against various forms of “harassment.” This was all rather surprising to Lewis because, as he noted, “Speech codes at universities had seemed to be on the decline. Several were held unconstitutional. So it is of more than parochial interest that an extraordinarily sweeping code should be proposed in this […]

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  • UCF rules fuel debate on freedom of speech

    December 17, 2006

    One minute, members of Students for a Democratic Society were sitting in a breezeway, holding signs asking other students to discuss a possible war in Iran.The next, the University of Central Florida police were accusing the campus activists of trespassing and were threatening them with arrest if they didn’t move to a designated “free-assembly area.” That event in April launched an ongoing dispute over free speech at UCF that echoes similar struggles between university administrators and students across the country. Officials at the campus east of Orlando say they’re just trying to prevent protesters from blocking entrances or disturbing classes […]

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  • Students challenge UCF’s ‘free-assembly’ policies

    December 6, 2006

    by Mark Harper Daytona Beach News-Journal   Months after campus police broke up an Iraq war protest because students were gathered outside “free-assembly zones,” a University of Central Florida committee is reconsidering those policies. The review comes after a student grievance, a Student Senate resolution and an intervention by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a Philadelphia-based civil rights organization. “It is simply unacceptable for UCF to transform the vast majority of its campus into a censorship area,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said in a news release. “The current policy is unconstitutional and must be repealed.” Maribeth Ehasz, […]

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  • College Athletes Caught in Tangled Web

    May 24, 2006

    Four San Diego State students recently logged on to a computer and did what thousands of other college students do these days during their spare time. They were having fun on MySpace.com, posting personal party pictures and commentaries about life in college. Some included references to drinking alcoholic beverages and snide remarks about recent soccer practices, according to a student colleague of the four. But because the four students were athletes – in this case women’s soccer players – they suffered a penalty for it. When they didn’t heed their coach’s warning to stop posting on the site, they were […]

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  • Lack of Legal Precedent Poses Major Problem for Schools

    May 22, 2006

    School administrators are increasingly asked what kind of cyberspeech causes campus disruption. As more students — from elementary school to college — network online, more are being punished for their postings. Last month, five Etiwanda High School students were suspended for creating an “unharmonious school atmosphere” after posting vulgar language in criticizing a teacher. Traditionally, schools do not interfere with behavior at home, but local school officials say they will act if activity from home computers causes school disruption. Greg Lukianoff, president of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said he has seen an upswing in free speech cases involving […]

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  • University presidents battle for honors in spinelessness

    May 1, 2006

    It’s time for this column to announce its Sheldon Award, given annually to the university president who does the most to look the other way when free speech is under assault on campus. As all Sheldon fans know, the prize is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except that the Oscar shows a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way. The award is named for Sheldon Hackney, former president of the University of Pennsylvania and a modern legend in looking the other way. College presidents, […]

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  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back to my beloved alma mater, Vassar—combined with my interactions with students where I teach and some disappointing sleuthing—has made it apparent that much of the unstructured free play at college seems to have disappeared in favor of pre-professional anxiety, coupled with the nihilistic, homogeneous partying […]

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  • Demonstrators at UCF and LSU Enjoy Free Speech on Campus

    September 10, 2013

    The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Louisiana State University (LSU) have both recently made positive changes with respect to free speech zones on their campuses, and student journalists are emphasizing the importance of free expression. Adam Rhodes wrote last week for the Central Florida Future, UCF’s student newspaper, to celebrate the university’s acceptance of demonstrations and counter-protests on campus. The university has even created a website clearly stating its policies (PDF)—“Use Your Voice @ UCF”—and emphasizes that students and faculty may use outdoor space for demonstrations and other expressive activities as long as their speech does not disrupt classes, […]

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  • Beth Kassab: Florida Universities Should Know Better

    August 28, 2013

    In a column published last week, the Orlando Sentinel’s Beth Kassab reviewed Florida universities’ failures to protect free expression. Kassab cites Florida Atlantic University’s “stomp on Jesus” fiasco, among other incidents, but she ultimately awards the University of Central Florida (UCF) her “top honors for the worst over-reaction this year”: UCF Professor Hyung-il Jung made a dumb but harmless joke while prepping students for an exam."It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these questions," he said. "Am I on a killing spree or what?"Even in light of an incident weeks earlier, in which a student plotted to […]

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  • University of Central Florida Professor Reinstated After Suspension for In-Class Joke

    May 21, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla., May 21, 2013—The University of Central Florida (UCF) has reinstated Professor Hyung-il Jung three weeks after unconstitutionally suspending him on the basis of an in-class joke. FIRE wrote to UCF President John C. Hitt in April, urging this result and reminding UCF of its First Amendment obligations. On April 23, Jung, a lecturer in UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, was leading an exam review session with roughly 25 students in an accounting course when, according to the Orlando Sentinel, he stated: “This question is very difficult. It looks like you guys are being slowly suffocated by these […]

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  • Joke Leaves Professor Suspended, Investigated; FIRE Intervenes

    April 26, 2013

    Yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel reported the suspension of University of Central Florida (UCF) Professor Hyung-il Jung on the basis of a supposedly threatening comment made during a class review session. Jung has been barred from campus and from contacting his students and UCF’s police are involved in the investigation into his speech. So the speech in question must have been bad, right? Well, here’s what the Sentinel reports: [Jung] told the Sentinel that he made a comment toward the end of the review session that was meant as a joke. The material was difficult, and he said he noticed the […]

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  • Lingering Questions About Press Freedom at UCF Following Student Government Elections

    March 5, 2010

    KnightNews.com, an independent online publication owned and operated by students at the University of Central Florida (UCF), can’t get an answer from UCF as to why its reporters were confined to a “free press zone” (KnightNews.com’s term) as it covered recent Student Government Association elections. FIRE has not been able to to get an answer from UCF either, other than to say that the facts laid out in our recent letter to UCF President John C. Hitt were “not correct.” We’re not kidding—that’s all the letter said. We guess we’re supposed to take UCF’s word for it. The trouble began […]

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  • UCF Ambiguously Curtails Free Speech

    December 12, 2007

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) gathered outside the student union wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “EXPLOITATION KING” to protest the perceived mistreatment of a hamburger chain’s workers. University police told the peaceful protesters to move to a “free-assembly zone” or face arrest. The students argued that, as students, they had a right to hold their demonstration outside of the free-assembly zone. Eventually the police relented, but by then the protest had already fizzled. Maribeth Ehasz, UCF’s vice president for student development and enrollment services, told […]

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  • Speech Codes Don’t Get Enforced?

    October 15, 2007

    As Will discussed earlier, Florida International University professor Stanley Fish argues in his latest “Think Again” column for The New York Times that campus speech codes do not present as much of a problem for students as one might think. In the process of reviewing filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney’s Indoctrinate U, Fish argues that any negative effects that speech codes may have on the state of free speech on campus is overblown because colleges will rarely, if ever, actually enforce their speech codes. Pointing to the fact that every speech code that has been litigated in the courts has ultimately […]

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  • Oxford Spies on Students through Facebook

    July 18, 2007

    The United Kingdom appears to be rapidly turning into a place where Big Brother is not just a character in a book, or a reality TV show, but a reality for everyone. Britain is well-known for its abundance of closed-circuit TV cameras that record everyone walking down the streets, all the time—and sometimes, the cameras even harangue you to stop doing what you’re doing.   Yet the Argus-like eye of Britain is not confined to the increasingly ubiquitous security cameras—now, at least for Oxford University, Facebook.com is part of the equation. The AP reports that Oxford administrators are actively searching […]

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  • ACLU Urges UCF to Abandon ‘Free Speech Zones’

    January 29, 2007

    As we mentioned last week, FIRE has written a second letter to the University of Central Florida (UCF) regarding its unwillingness to abandon unconstitutional “free speech zones” on campus. The UCF students leading the charge against the free speech zones are members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Campus Peace Action (CPA), whose protests and events have been disbanded time and again by campus police.   The website “New Left Notes” chronicles the latest fiascoes on campus involving UCF police officers shutting down student protests and enforcing inconsistent “free speech zone” policies, as last week’s blog describes.   […]

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  • FIRE Condemns UCF’s Shrinking Speech Zones

    January 25, 2007

    FIRE sent a second letter to the University of Central Florida (UCF) yesterday regarding the school’s free speech zone policy. FIRE first wrote to UCF on November 1 criticizing the quarantine of free speech activities to only four areas on the entire UCF campus. In today’s letter, FIRE emphasized that “the special function of the university as a whole is to serve as the ultimate ‘free speech area,’” and cautioned that severe restrictions on free expression have no place at a university. The UCF chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had appealed to FIRE for help last fall […]

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  • Facebook and the Campus Communication Explosion

    January 12, 2007

    Looking back on FIRE’s work last year, several trends stand out: the disturbing rise of student-led censorship, the increased public awareness of the importance of the right of private conscience, the continued pervasiveness of speech codes and the often willful misinterpretation of “harassment” to squelch speech. One trend, however, strikes me as being truly unique to 2006: the rise of censorship cases and other administrative abuses involving social networking websites like Facebook.com.   In 2006, FIRE witnessed a dramatic increase in case submissions involving social networking websites like Facebook.com and Myspace.com. In February, we exposed an incident at the University of […]

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  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping cases from 2006 involved a breathtaking exercise in thought reform by Michigan State University. FIRE publicly challenged what MSU calls a “Student Accountability in Community Seminar” (SAC) which is intended to address student behavior that administrators consider unacceptable; the seminar is successful only when it […]

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  • Zoning Out Free Speech at Joliet Junior College

    January 4, 2007

    Last week, the Daily Southtown (Ill.) published an editorial criticizing the trustees of Joliet Junior College for adopting a new free speech zone policy. Although the new policy seems to be improved because it moves these zones closer to where students actually gather, the editorial board rightly questions why the policy wasn’t completely abolished. The editorial correctly notes that “designating a ‘zone’ and setting up rules for how to use it doesn’t encourage free speech, it limits and discourages it.”   Free speech zones are nothing more then a ruse used by college administrators to suppress the free exchange of […]

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  • ‘Orlando Sentinel’ Covers Free Speech Zone Controversy at UCF

    December 19, 2006

    The Orlando Sentinel covered FIRE’s case at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where a protest organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was shut down for taking place outside the university’s “free speech zones.” The article explains the situation at UCF and briefly describes the history of political correctness and the rise of free speech zone restrictions in the 1980s and 1990s. Universities abuse the exception for content neutral and reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions allowed by the courts to restrict potentially offensive speech by relegating it to small and/or remote areas of the campus.   The […]

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  • Torch Reader Exposes UCF’s Hypocrisy, Part II

    December 8, 2006

    As reported on Wednesday, Torch reader David Ross challenged University of Central Florida President John Hitt in a series of e-mails this week to defend Hitt’s pronouncement that UCF does not maintain “free speech zones.” In so doing, Ross revealed Hitt’s clear refusal to own up to his own school’s press releases, which mention UCF’s “free speech zones” by name. We’re happy to pass along the latest round of Ross and Hitt’s correspondence, further proving that President Hitt will not—indeed, cannot—answer Ross’s request that he reconcile his statements with his school’s past and present practices. We pick up where we […]

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  • Torch Reader Exposes UCF’s Hypocrisy

    December 6, 2006

    David S. Ross, keen-eyed friend of free speech and Torch reader, has passed on his revealing e-mail correspondence with UCF President John Hitt and Associate General Counsel Youndy Cook. The exchange very clearly reveals that despite UCF’s protests to the contrary, the school definitely maintains “free speech zones”—and even refers to them as such. The initial letter, President Hitt’s response, and Ross’s reply all follow.      ***   Dear President Hitt, Ms. Cook:   I am forwarding a copy of a note I just got from FIRE about UCF’s free speech zone policy.  Whenever I get one of these notes […]

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  • When It Restricts Free Speech to a Small Area, It’s a “Free Speech Zone”

    December 5, 2006

    University of Central Florida President John Hitt sent the following e-mail to a FIRE friend who objected to UCF’s “free speech zone” policy: Free speech is a fact of life throughout our university’s campus. The policy in question is clearly labeled “Free Assembly Areas.” It should tell you a lot that FIRE begins its communication by properly referring to the policy, then mis-labels it “Free Speech Areas” after a few sentences. Free speech is everywhere on campus; we simply have designated areas where large numbers of people can gather with enhanced sound and conduct rallies without interfering with university business. […]

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  • University of Central Florida Upholds ‘Free Speech Zone’ Policy

    December 4, 2006

    Today’s press release highlights the University of Central Florida’s refusal to renounce and repeal its “free speech zone” policy that quarantines free speech to only four areas of UCF’s campus.   UCF’s Free Assembly Areas Policy states that only “four areas shall be deemed free assembly areas for the conduct of political activity and other exercises of free speech.” Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) got into trouble last spring for holding a series of antiwar protests outside of the school-sanctioned zones. In March, SDS held a protest in cooperation with UCF Campus Peace Action to protest the war in […]

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  • Students Censored, Free Speech Under Quarantine at University of Central Florida

    December 4, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla., December 4, 2006—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling on the University of Central Florida (UCF) to repeal its unlawful and unfair “free speech zone” policy. This policy quarantines free speech at UCF to four areas covering only a small percentage of its campus. “It is simply unacceptable for UCF to transform the vast majority of its campus into a censorship area,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “The current policy is unconstitutional and must be repealed.” UCF’s Free Assembly Areas policy states that only “four areas shall be deemed free assembly areas for the conduct […]

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  • Florida Readers: Watch WKMG-TV Local 6 Tonight at 6PM

    November 10, 2006

    Tonight, WKMG-TV Local 6 in central Florida will feature FIRE’s current case at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where the Student Handbook restricts freedom of expression to only four “free speech areas” on the entire UCF campus. The story will be featured on the 6:00 PM program and will also be available from the Local 6 website.   FIRE has successfully challenged “free speech zones” at a number of schools including West Virginia University, Seminole Community College in Florida, Citrus College in California, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Texas Tech University, and the University of Nevada at Reno. FIRE […]

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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Silly

    October 18, 2006

    As a free speech organization, we see pretty much every type of censorship out there. People are frequently censored at colleges and universities for engaging in controversial political speech. Other times, people are censored for engaging in speech that is crude and repugnant, but that is wholly protected. And then there are times that people seem to be censored for no reason at all. Today’s case at Marquette University is one of those instances. In the spirit of levity, here are a few more of the silliest instances of censorship we’ve seen here at FIRE:  Gonzaga University tried to punish […]

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  • More on MySpace and Facebook

    May 31, 2006

    As Tara and I have been discussing, we have seen a stark increase the number of cases where students, both in high school and college, have gotten in trouble for what they are posting on sites like Facebook.com or MySpace.com. As best I can tell, college administrators are scared to death of these sites because they provide a huge new forum for students to talk to each other and they are discovering—gasp—that students can be disrespectful of authority, rude, and not particularly PC. Sometimes they even make fun of their teachers or their roommates and use bad words. I know […]

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  • ‘I Am All for Free Speech—But I Draw the Line at People Making Fun of Me!’

    May 30, 2006

    For those of you who didn’t get to see me on MSNBC this weekend, it was a fun time, and a chance to talk about the striking rise we have noticed in students getting into trouble for their speech on sites like MySpace.com or Facebook.com. As loyal Torch readers know, FIRE recently successfully aided a student at University of Central Florida (UCF) who was brought up on harassment charges for calling a student government candidate a “jerk and a fool.” Meanwhile, at Syracuse University, students who created a Facebook group to make fun of a teaching assistant were expelled from […]

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  • Internet Expression in Jeopardy: MySpace Users Beware

    May 24, 2006

    Reporter Wendy Leung has a great article in the San Bernardino County Sun and Ontario’s Daily Bulletin regarding the shaky legal ground that schools tread when they patrol students’ expression on websites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com. Leung writes: Traditionally, schools do not interfere with behavior at home, but local school officials say they will act if activity from home computers causes school disruption. Greg Lukianoff, president of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said he has seen an upswing in free speech cases involving networking sites such as Myspace.com. “I’ve seen a very pronounced jump in the last six months,’’ […]

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  • Victory for Internet Expression at UCF

    March 6, 2006

    Today’s press release announces a victory for free speech on the Internet at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Last September, UCF student Matthew Walston created a group on the popular site Facebook.com called “Victor Perez is a Jerk and a Fool.” At the time, Perez was running for UCF student senate. Walston’s relatively tame comments inspired Perez to submit a complaint, and Walston was brought up on charges of harassment and personal abuse. After FIRE wrote a letter to UCF administrators on Walston’s behalf, a hearing board found Walston “not in violation” of the personal abuse and harassment regulations. […]

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  • Student Wins Facebook.com Case at University of Central Florida

    March 6, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla., March 6, 2006—First Amendment rights on the Internet were recently vindicated at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Until the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened, a UCF student was set to be punished on harassment charges for calling a student government candidate “a jerk and a fool” on the popular college website Facebook.com. “It’s deeply troubling that a student anywhere in America could face trouble for such mild statements on a website,” remarked FIRE Interim President Greg Lukianoff. “However, we are pleased that UCF seems to have come to its senses.” Last September, UCF undergraduate […]

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