University of Wisconsin – Stout

Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin
Website: http://www.uwstout.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Wisconsin – Stout has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • University of Wisconsin – Stout: Censorship, Referral to Threat Assessment Team, and Threat of Criminal Charges after Professor Puts Posters Outside Office Door

    September 21, 2011

    On September 16, 2011, Stout’s police chief removed a poster with a picture of Firefly actor Nathan Fillion and a quotation from the show from outside the office door of Professor James Miller. The police officer stated that the poster was unacceptable because it “refer[red] to killing” and “can be interpreted as a threat by others.” Days later, the same officer removed another posting outside Miller’s door that read “Warning: Fascism” and mockingly stated that “Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death.” The university’s threat assessment team was activated by the posters despite their obviously satirical content, and Miller’s […]

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  • University of Wisconsin: Students’ Due Process Rights

    March 13, 2009

    FIRE successfully persuaded the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents to affirm due process rights for students, including the option of a hearing before a committee including student peers, attorney representation in the case of serious allegations, and both e-mail and paper notification of proceedings. The Board had proposed changes to the State Administrative Code governing infractions and judicial procedures within Wisconsin’s public universities that would have limited due process rights and granted more discretion to administrators. FIRE’s Adam Kissel engaged in a speaking tour of University of Wisconsin schools in opposition to these changes, even speaking before the Board […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Residence Hall Handbook: Bias Incidents 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    [C]onduct, speech, or expression
    motivated by bias against an individual’s actual or
    perceived race, national or ethnic origin, religion, disability,
    sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or gender
    is prohibited. Bias acts occur whether the act is intentional
    or unintentional or is directed toward an individual or group
    and may contribute to creating an unsafe/unwelcoming
    environment for victims and social identity groups. Bias acts
    are considered such even when presented as a joke, prank,
    or delivered with humorous intent.

    Examples include: slurs, epithets, name calling, use of
    degrading language, graffiti, harassment or coercion
    directed at a targeted person or group.

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  • Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Examples of Prohibited Activities Related to Email: ... Distribution of any disruptive or offensive messages, including offensive comments about race, gender,
    hair color, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, pornography, religious beliefs and practice, political beliefs,
    or national origin.

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  • University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents: Policies- Racist and Other Discriminatory Conduct Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    It is the policy of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, that racist and other discriminatory conduct toward students, employees, officials, and guests in the University of Wisconsin System is conduct that will not be tolerated. Discrimination, discriminatory attitudes, and expressions that reflect discrimination are inconsistent with the efforts of the University of Wisconsin System to foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the university community and to eliminate all manifestations of discrimination within the university.

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  • University Housing 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies, Statement

    At UW-Stout, we believe in an inclusive community that is accepting of all students.

    We will not tolerate hateful comments, bias actions, or any kind of bullying.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Bias Incident Reporting: Information & Frequently Asked Questions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech, Statement

    Bias incidents and hate crimes are acts motivated by bigotry and/or hate based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion or disability. Hate crimes are those acts that violate criminal law, such as violence or vandalism; many crimes carry more severe punishments if the motivation for that crime is proven to be hate. A bias- or hate-motivated incident, such as the use of hate speech, may not be a crime, but may violate campus policies and codes of conduct.

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  • Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Sexual harassment in higher education means: (a) any unwelcome sexual
    advances; (b) unwelcome requests for sexual favors; (c) unwelcome physical contact
    of a sexual nature; or (d) unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,
    when: ... Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with
    a student’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile,
    or offensive academic environment (this is a type of hostile
    environment sexual harassment).

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  • UWS 18 Conduct on University Lands: Computer Use 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    No person may, with intent to harass,
    annoy or offend another person, send a message to the person on
    an electronic mail or other computerized communication system
    and in that message use any obscene, lewd or profane language or
    suggest any lewd or lascivious act.

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: University Housing Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Disorderly conduct within the
    residence halls is not permitted. This includes, but is not limited
    to, engaging in fighting, prank activities, using abusive language or
    acting in a manner so as to disturb or threaten the public peace.

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  • Residence Hall Handbook: Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination
    and is not tolerated at UW-Stout. It occurs in a variety
    of situations which share a common element: the
    inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or
    comments into the living, work or learning situation.
    Often sexual harassment involves relationships of
    unequal power, and contains elements of coercion--
    as when compliance with requests for sexual favors
    becomes a criterion for some benefit. However,
    sexual harassment may also involve relationships
    among equals, as when repeated sexual advances
    or demeaning verbal behavior have a harmful effect
    on a person’s ability to study or work in the academic
    setting. If students feel they or someone they know
    have been sexually harassed, they should contact their
    RA, their Hall Director, or the Dean of Student’s office.

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  • 5 More of the Worst Free Speech Violations on College Campuses

    September 12, 2012

    On Tuesday, I shared the first half of my list of ten of the most common free speech violations which the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE ) encounters in its work defending campus expression. As I noted yesterday, the list is far from comprehensive, and the offenses listed are in no particular order. They do, however, give a sense of the depth and variety of ways free speech is threatened at our colleges and universities. Here are five more of the most common violations against free speech on campus. Be sure to visit yesterday’s post for the first half of […]

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  • What I should have said at FreedomFest

    July 16, 2012

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the libertarian superconference in Las Vegas known as FreedomFest. My organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), was there in part because our short documentary “Don’t Mess with Firefly” was up for an award as part of the Anthem Film Festival. Daily Caller readers may remember the case from last fall in which a drama professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout found himself in hot water for posting a beloved quote from that short-lived, Joss Whedon science-fiction series, and for mocking the bullying response of the campus chief of police to that posting. I wrote several articles about the case last fall, […]

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  • FIRE, Firefly, and the First Amendment

    April 23, 2012

    James Miller, a theater professor at the University of Wisconsin in Stout, is a fan of Firefly, Joss Whedon’s short-lived science fiction series. Evidently Lisa A. Walter, the school’s chief of police, is not. After Miller put a Firefly poster on his office door last September, Walter removed it, explaining in an email message that “it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing.” She claimed the poster was not covered by the First Amendment, since it “can be interpreted as a threat.” To protest Walter’s censorship, Miller put up a poster that shows the silhouette of a cop beating a prone man and bears the message “WARNING: FASCISM.” […]

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  • UW-Stout welcomes discussion of free speech issues

    March 28, 2012

    MENOMONIE – UW-Stout professor James Miller, who raised First Amendment rights issues on campus last year when he placed a controversial poster on his office door, said having a representative of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on campus Wednesday is a good sign for freedom of speech. “I’m glad FIRE is here,” Miller said. In September Miller put the poster with the quotation “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed” from the TV science-fiction series “Firefly” […]

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  • FIRE’s Firefly Victory

    December 29, 2011

    by Jacob Sullum Reason Online   A new video from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) tells the story of James Miller, the University of Wisconsin at Stout theater professor whoseFirefly poster (right) was removed from his office door by campus police on the grounds that it constituted a threat of violence. Miller protested with a satirical poster warning that “fascism can cause blunt trauma and/or violent death,” which was removed under the same pretext. The two incidents, which marked Miller as a threat to campus safety, threatened his career as well as his freedom of speech. Amazingly, university administrators backed the school’s […]

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  • Neil Gaiman and fans of sci-fi classic ‘Firefly’ save free speech on campus!

    December 28, 2011

    Despite my 10 years working to defend free speech on campus, university censors keep finding new ways to surprise me. This year a campus in the University of Wisconsin system managed to do something that offended me both as a First Amendment lawyer and as a sci-fi fan, two parts of my life that I thought would never intersect. As I reported back in September, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, James Miller, was threatened with potential criminal charges just for posting a quote from the beloved but short-lived sci-fi classic Firefly outside his door and, then, for having the temerity to object to the […]

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  • Video: How sci-fi fans put Firefly into the FIRE

    December 28, 2011

    Our friends at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have a new video out this week recapping one of their most prominent victories over censorship in Academia – prominent because this case found a ready-made constituency of activists for individual rights. Fans of the cult TV series Firefly rushed to defend University of Wisconsin Professor James Miller after he was accused by campus police of creating a threatening environment by hanging a Firefly poster on his office door, a case in which FIRE prevailed.  The video interviews author Neil Gaiman and takes a generally light-hearted tone – but delivers a serious message: […]

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  • How Firefly fans and Neil Gaiman used social media to save free speech

    December 27, 2011

    Firefly fans and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education helped protect free speech, and a university professor’s job, with a little help from author Neil Gaiman and Twitter. (Note: Alex Knapp beat me to the punch on this one. Read his post here.) Social media is changing the world and certainly University of Wisconsin professor James Miller understands this better than most. When Miller hung a poster of the popular but short-lived science fiction show Firefly outside his office he never expected that university police would take the poster down. The offending material had a picture of the star of the show, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and […]

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  • How Firefly fans saved free speech on campus

    December 27, 2011

    Here’s a great video for fans of the TV show Firefly, free speech, or both – this tells the story of how the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) worked to defend the free speech rights of a professor who had a poster of a quote from the show Firefly removed from his office door because it was deemed a “threat.” Suffice to say, Firefly fans didn’t take this lying down, nor did free speech advocates. Here’s the description from FIRE: The video, which features an interview with legendary author Neil Gaiman, is a lighthearted look at how the University of Wisconsin-Stout backed down from its […]

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  • University Backs Down Over Firefly Poster Protest

    October 14, 2011

    Back in September we learned about the sad story of James Miller, a professor at the University of Wisconsin who found himself in trouble with the campus constabulary for hanging a poster of Firefly-era Nathan Fillion, emblazoned with a famous quote from the show in which he explains the exact circumstances under which he will kill you. When the police decided that the poster was a potential threat to the peace and took it down, Miller put up another one referencing fascism, which of course just made things worse. Miller eventually took his case to the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Browncoats – 1, Alliance – 0: College changes tune on censorship of ‘Firefly’ poster

    October 7, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Daily Caller   Last week I wrote about a remarkable case of censorship at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Stout Professor James Miller was threatened with “disorderly conduct” for posting outside his office door a quote from the beloved, yet short-lived sci-fi TV show Firefly and a second poster in which he mocked the college for its heavy-handedness. The fact that a college would overreact like this, violate the First Amendment, and then treat criticism of its handling of the case like a threat to the whole community was not really surprising to me. At this point […]

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  • UW-Stout flip-flops on professor’s ‘violent’ posters, will allow them

    October 5, 2011

    Will a UW-Stout professor hang duplicates of two posters taken down in September, now that the university changed its mind after a national First Amendment controversy? Jim Miller said he might hang a new poster of actor Nathan Fillion, but he first wants some time to see if measures pledged by the administration will ensure free speech on campus. “If I re-post, it will be a new, glossy shiny poster,” said Miller, a professor of theater and speech communication at the Menomonie university. University administrators sent an email Tuesday to all students, faculty and staff, informing them that UW-Stout officials […]

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  • Professor allowed to re-hang controvrsal posters at UW-Stout

    October 4, 2011

    The University of Wisconsin-Stout says it will allow a professor to hang two, controversal, posters outside his office, if he chooses to. According to a recent report, that surfaced earlier this month, a professor put up posters, outside his office. One with a quote from a move that read:  “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed”- Firefly.  The blog goes on to say, the campus police were called in to take the poster down. In a statement released on […]

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  • UW-Stout chills First Amendment

    October 3, 2011

    The issue: UW-Stout officials remove posters from a professor’s office door, claiming they constitute violent threats. Our view: The posters were not threatening, and the university should apologize for interfering with the professor’s free speech rights. Acts of senseless violence – such as the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that left 32 victims dead – no doubt weigh heavily on the minds of those who work to keep college campuses safe. University police and administrators must be mindful of threats and act with caution when they occur. However, there’s a distinct difference between acting cautiously and acting rashly, as well as […]

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  • Out of the ‘Firefly’ into the frying pan

    October 1, 2011

    Poster ignites controversy at UW-Stout by Deb Anderson The Dunn County News   View this article at The Dunn County News.

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  • The Speech Police Return to Campus

    September 29, 2011

    When government regulates what we can and can’t say, we often complain about the “speech police” shutting us up. But at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, that characterization is literally true. Earlier this week, campus police showed up at the office of theater professor James Miller to take down a poster he had displayed on his office door. The poster featured a quote from the short-lived television show Firefly, Joss Whedon’s libertarian cult classic that is part throwback Western, part space fiction, and features characters (ironically) who battle an authoritarian government. The poster on Miller’s door featured the following quote, from […]

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  • College campus police save students from threat of Firefly poster

    September 27, 2011

    Campus police at the University Of Wisconsin-Stout, a dark and slightly creamy university that pairs surprisingly well with chocolate, have once more secured the safety of their students by ripping down a theater professor’s Firefly poster, which threatened to murder everyone who looked at it. Or rather, as you can see in the image to the left there, captured Firefly star Nathan Fillion’s character in his typically tough-but-fair idiom, while also using the word “kill,” suggesting that theater professor James Miller was just waiting for the right opportunity to kill one of his students, just as soon as they were […]

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  • THE DARK SIDE: A First Amendment showdown at UW-Stout

    September 27, 2011

    This week, Wisconsin is ground zero in the battle between university bureaucrats and free speech champions. No, I’m not talking about the University of Wisconsin’s attempts to stifle criticism of its admission policies. That’s been going on for years, and will continue for many more. No, this battle is much less weighty, but far more absurd, and involves a theater professor at UW-Stout. Apparently, the same guy who made the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series also made some sci-fi show called “Firefly.” I’ve never seen it nor heard of it, but if it was even half as good as “Buffy,” […]

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  • Wis. University Allegedly Labels Prof’s Movie Poster ‘Unacceptable’ & Removes It

    September 27, 2011

    by Christopher Santarelli The Blaze   University of Wisconsin-Stout theater professor James Miller has become a firecracker in a debate over free speech after he posted a controversial poster in front of his office door on September 12. The poster was from the short-lived sci-fi television series “Firefly.” What did it say? Here’s a copy: The poster’s quote was apparently deemed offensive by some, including UW-Stout Police Chief Lisa Walter, who took down Miller’s poster and e-mailed him on September 16. The higher education free-speech group FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) obtained copies: Dr. Miller, I wanted to notify […]

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  • When Firefly posters are outlawed, only outlaws will have Firefly posters

    September 26, 2011

    For a show that only lasted 14 episodes almost 10 years ago, Joss Whedon’s sci-fi/western mashup Firefly sure has left a lasting impression. There were enough clamoring fans to merit a feature-film sequel (but not enough for any further ones). Its premature cancellation gave geeks a decade’s worth of “Friday night on FOX” jokes. And it gave libertarians everywhere a science fiction show to call their very own, if only for a little while. And now, here’s the latest misbehavior it’s been aimed at. From the website of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education): A professor has been censored […]

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  • Insult to injury: Quote from sci-fi classic ‘Firefly’ censored on campus

    September 26, 2011

    December 20th, 2002, is a date that lives in infamy to me and many of my fellow geeks. On that (presumably) dark and gloomy day, Fox aired the last episode of Joss Whedon’s brilliant space western Firefly. The impatient network canceled the show after barely half a season of episodes — aired in the wrong order, no less. With this reckless, senseless act all of my plans for the series — weekly Firefly parties, my planned Reaver Halloween costume, my letter-writing campaign to link up the cast members with their soul mates the Phenomenauts, my ambitious scale model of the […]

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  • The Clear and Present Danger Posed by Space Captains

    September 26, 2011

    James Miller, a theater professor at the University of Wisconsin in Stout, is a fan of Firefly, Joss Whedon’s short-lived science fiction series. Evidently Lisa A. Walter, the school’s chief of police, is not. After Miller put a Firefly poster on his office door, Walter removed it, perceiving it as a clear and present danger to public safety. The poster shows Nathan Fillion as Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, captain of the spaceship at the center of Firefly. Superimposed over the image of Reynolds is a line he utters in the first episode: “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you […]

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  • University Threatens Criminal Charges Over Firefly Poster

    September 26, 2011

    A professor at the University of Wisconsin is facing threats of criminal action for putting up a poster featuring a quote from the sci-fi television series Firefly. “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: if I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” If you’re a Firefly fan, that quote will be instantly recognizable as one spoken by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, explaining to a new passenger one of the many interesting philosophies that governs his life. It also apparently had some resonance with Professor James Miller of […]

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  • Bergen Administrators Fear ‘Game of Thrones’ Quote, Censor Professor

    April 16, 2014

    Brace yourselves; censorship is coming!

    Displaying a lack of both pop culture and First Amendment awareness, administrators at Bergen Community College in New Jersey placed Professor Francis Schmidt on leave this past January, requiring him to meet with a psychiatrist before returning to campus—just for posting a picture of his daughter in a T-shirt quoting the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones.

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  • Best of the Blog: “Aim to Misbehave: Donate to FIRE Today!”

    August 7, 2013

    This week, FIRE has a special treat for you. We’ve rounded up some of our best blogs from over the years: pieces we think are particularly well written or cases we are particularly passionate about. Today, we hear from Gina Luttrell, who wrote about our "Firefly" case at the University of Wisconsin-Stout on December 21 last year. Please enjoy! A little over a year ago, I flew into Philadelphia to interview for an open position with FIRE (spoiler alert: I got the job). Sitting in the conference room with my soon-to-be coworkers, they asked me to name a few cases […]

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  • Greg’s Anthem Film Festival Award Acceptance Speech — The Long Version!

    July 17, 2012

    At the conclusion of FreedomFest this weekend, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff took the stage to accept the 2012 Award for Best Short Documentary at the Anthem Film Festival for FIRE’s film Don’t Mess with Firefly! How Scifi Fans Made a Campus Safe for Free Speech. The documentary, directed by Ted Balaker, tells the true story of a university professor who was investigated as a potential threat by the University of Wisconsin–Stout for displaying a poster containing a quote from the popular television series Firefly and the successful advocacy campaign spearheaded by FIRE and adopted by members of the show’s cast and […]

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  • FIRE’s ‘Firefly’ Video Wins Best Short Documentary at 2012 Anthem Film Festival

    July 16, 2012

    And the Browncoats have it! This past weekend, FIRE’s video “Don’t Mess with Firefly! How SciFi Fans Made a Campus Safe for Free Speech” was screened for audiences at FreedomFest in Las Vegas as part of the Anthem Film Festival. We are thrilled to announce that our video, which features legendary author Neil Gaiman, was named the festival’s Best Short Documentary at the awards ceremony Saturday. FIRE would like to thank director Ted Balaker and Korchula Productions, Professor Jim Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Firefly fans everywhere for helping us draw much-needed attention to the serious problem of censorship on campus. […]

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  • FIRE’s ‘Firefly’ case in ‘Reason’ Magazine

    April 18, 2012

    In the May issue of Reason, you’ll find a whole page devoted to FIRE’s case involving University of Wisconsin-Stout Professor James Miller, whose Firefly poster was removed by campus authorities because “it [could] be interpreted as a threat.” The case is featured in the Artifact section of the magazine. The case drew widespread attention this past fall. Firefly stars Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion and legendary science fiction author Neil Gaiman all tweeted FIRE’s coverage of the case to their combined nearly 3 million followers; more than 1,000 people were inspired to take action and write to Stout’s president; and […]

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  • College Risk Management Industry: Hoodies Are Threatening

    April 11, 2012

    After deadly shootings on college campuses in recent years, the risk management industry and universities have teamed up to design “threat assessment teams” to try to identify potential threats as early as possible. Unfortunately, innocent people often get caught up in the hysteria, like University of Wisconsin – Stout professor James Miller, who was reported to Stout’s threat assessment team because of posters he put up outside his office door. Yesterday, FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel pointed out in The Huffington Post that some in the risk management industry officially identify protected speech and hoodies as indicators of […]

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  • FIRE Visit Marks Progress for Free Speech at UW-Stout

    March 29, 2012

    Yesterday, I wrote that Adam would be at the University of Wisconsin – Stout this week. He spoke twice on campus yesterday, first addressing the campus community at a public lecture and then leading a discussion with students from a General Ethics class. His campus visit was reported by Pamela Powers of the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisc.), which previously covered the Firefly poster controversy at on campus last fall. Powers writes: FIRE vice president of programs Adam Kissel said it was rare that UW-Stout officials would invite him to campus after such an incident. FIRE has defended faculty and student […]

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  • Announcing Our ‘Firefly’ Twitter Contest Winner

    March 5, 2012

    Lauren E. Becker, known on Twitter as @MsBecker, has won FIRE’s contest for the best tweet promoting our video about our case at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Lauren’s tweet was chosen from more than 300 entries collectively receiving more than 1,000 votes at Prizes.org. Her winning entry, which included a link to the video, was: When they try to kill your free speech, you should be awake. You should be facing them. You should be armed. prizes.org/Best-tweet-abo… — Lauren E. Becker (@MsBecker) December 27, 2011 The tweet echoes Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ declaration of honor from the TV series Firefly when […]

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  • ‘Firefly’ Video Hits 75,000 Views; Win a Prize for Promoting It!

    January 12, 2012

    Just a few weeks after its launch, FIRE’s newest video has reached 75,000 views—OK, 76,702 as of this writing—and the numbers keep on rising! If you have yet to see it, you should watch it right away. The video, Don’t Mess with Firefly! How SciFi Fans Made a Campus Safe for Free Speech, outlines the case of University of Wisconsin-Stout theater professor Jim Miller. With FIRE’s help, Miller recently won a battle with the university administration to be allowed to express himself through posters on his office door-one of which featured a quote from the widely acclaimed science fiction television […]

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  • Neil Gaiman talks ‘Firefly,’ free speech on campus, and one of the craziest cases of the year

    December 29, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post   As I reported back in September, a drama professor at a campus in the University of Wisconsin System appeared to be in danger of losing his job for two posters he had placed outside his door. The first poster included a quote from the beloved yet short-lived science-fiction classic Firefly. The second warned the university against acting like a bunch of fascists for tearing down the first poster and threatening the professor with potential criminal charges. The university reacted to the posters by stating that the professor was a threat to the school, […]

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  • Tens of Thousands Watch FIRE’s New ‘Firefly’ Video

    December 28, 2011

    Barely a day after its launch, FIRE’s new video has already been viewed well over 25,000 times! Thanks to links from io9, Instapundit, Forbes, Hot Air, geekology, Geeks of Doom, reddit, and more, the new video has taken off! The new video, Don’t Mess with Firefly! How SciFi Fans Made a Campus Safe for Free Speech, details FIRE’s work in defense of Professor Jim Miller of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Miller faced censorship and threats of criminal charges from campus officials for his posters celebrating Joss Whedon’s acclaimed sci-fi television series Firefly and condemning fascism. The video also features an […]

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  • Talking ‘Firefly’ in ‘Daily Caller,’ Greg’s Sci-Fi Roots Show

    December 28, 2011

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff is a self-described Firefly “fanboy”—and in a column today for The Daily Caller, he talks about how his love for the sci-fi TV series and his First Amendment advocacy intersected in FIRE’s recent win at the University of Wisconsin-Stout: As I reported back in September, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, James Miller, was threatened with potential criminal charges just for posting a quote from the beloved but short-lived sci-fi classic Firefly outside his door and, then, for having the temerity to object to the university’s heavy-handed treatment of him and the poster. Now, my […]

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  • New FIRE Video: How ‘Firefly’ Fans Saved Free Speech on Campus

    December 28, 2011

    Yesterday, FIRE released our newest short video, Don’t Mess with Firefly: How SciFi Fans Made a Campus Safe for Free Speech. The video, which features an interview with legendary author Neil Gaiman, is a lighthearted look at how the University of Wisconsin-Stout backed down from its censorship of Professor James Miller’s posters, one featuring a quote from the science fiction show Firefly, and the other condemning fascism. Stout stood by its actions until FIRE’s advocacy campaign on Miller’s behalf inspired Gaiman, along with Firefly actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin, to take to Twitter to encourage their millions of followers to contact the […]

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  • Greg on PJTV’s ‘Instavision’

    October 14, 2011

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff appeared this week on PJTV’s “Instavision” with host Glenn Reynolds to discuss FIRE’s recent case at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the state of free speech on our nation’s campuses. To watch the segment, visit PJTV.com (registration required).

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  • ‘Firefly’ Poster Censorship Update

    October 13, 2011

    The University of Wisconsin–Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin, which confiscated two posters that Professor James Miller had posted outside his office door last month, has finally returned the posters to him. In case you missed it, Miller was reported to the “threat assessment team” and threatened with criminal charges because of the two satirical postings. One of them depicted actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly and a quotation from the character, and the other stated, “Warning: Fascism.” Click on the links in the first paragraph to see what the folks at UW-Stout supposedly thought was so dangerous. After a huge public outcry and […]

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  • This Week in FIRE News: UW-Stout Folds on ‘Firefly’ Censorship

    October 8, 2011

    By now you’re likely well aware that University of Wisconsin-Stout (Stout) professor James Miller had been censored twice, reported to the university’s “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of a satirical posting outside his office door depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly. After taking it down, the Stout Chief of Police threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct if he posted similar content in the future. After Stout censored his second poster, which satirically stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to FIRE for help. Last Wednesday, we reported that the Stout […]

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  • University of Wisconsin reverses its decision in ‘Firefly’ censorship case

    October 8, 2011

    by Jess d’Arbonne examiner.com   It takes a great school to admit when it’s wrong. I guess University of Wisconsin, Stout is just a good school. Well… they’re all right. This week the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has announced that the University of Wisconsin, Stout has reversed their decision in the case of the censorship of UW-Stout professor James Miller. For those of you following along at home, you can read the backstory behind this ludicrous violation of First Amendment rights here. For those who want a summary, it goes like this: Professor Miller had a poster […]

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  • College Changes Course on Censorship of ‘Firefly’ Poster

    October 7, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post   Last week I wrote about a remarkable case of censorship at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (Stout). Stout Professor James Miller was threatened with “disorderly conduct” for posting outside his office door a quote from the beloved yet short-lived sci-fi TV show Firefly, and a second poster in which he mocked the college for its heavy-handedness. The fact that a college would overreact like this, violate the First Amendment, and then treat criticism of its handling of the case like a threat to the whole community was not really surprising to me. At this […]

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  • Greg in ‘The Daily Caller’ on the End of ‘Firefly’ Censorship at UW-Stout

    October 7, 2011

    The University of Wisconsin–Stout’s foolish decision, now reversed, to tear down two posters, one quoting the TV show Firefly and one denouncing fascism, has continued to draw headlines across the nation. You can read the latest from FIRE’s own Greg Lukianoff in The Daily Caller. 

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  • ‘Hot Air’ and ‘Firefly’ Actors Praise FIRE

    October 5, 2011

    Since FIRE’s recent victory at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the Internet has been abuzz with news of our success. Some of the praise comes from Firefly actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin, who were instrumental in getting the word out about the censorship of Professor James Miller’s posters and pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of UW-Stout’s administration. Fillion and Baldwin are both featured today in a post about the case by Ed Morrissey on Hot Air. Baldwin’s reaction to the case: I am heartened and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the “Firefly/Serenity” community. It remains a tragic multi-generational crime that […]

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  • For All You Firefly Fans Out There

    October 5, 2011

    For those FIRE fans who are also Firefly fans (as we recently found out, the two groups include many of the same members), we thought you might enjoy the first graphic I jokingly made to celebrate UW-Stout’s decision to back down from its censorship of Professor James Miller’s Firefly and anti-fascism posters (we used this one instead). If you’re not a fan of the show, just skip on ahead to the next blog entry.

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  • University of Wisconsin retreats from censorship

    October 5, 2011

    by Ed Morrissey Hot Air   View this article at Hot Air.

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  • ‘You can’t take the sky (or my poster) from me, says UW-Stout prof

    October 5, 2011

    by Staff Editorial The Daily Caller   Last week I told you about the theater professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout who was warned he could be facing criminal charges. Why? Because he kept making a fuss about the university taking down his poster of Firefly‘s Malcolm Reynolds with this quote: “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” Somehow they turned this into the professor making “death threats,” and it became a bigger deal when some of the […]

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  • Victory at UW-Stout: Chancellor Folds after Censorship of ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters

    October 4, 2011

    MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 4, 2011—Under pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), national media, and actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin, the University of Wisconsin-Stout (Stout) has reversed its censorship of theater professor James Miller’s poster featuring a line from Fillion’s character in Joss Whedon’s television series Firefly. Campus police had threatened Miller with criminal disorderly conduct charges, and he was reported to the “threat assessment team.” After Stout censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to FIRE for help. “FIRE is pleased that UW-Stout has decided to abandon its previous position and reopen the […]

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  • University Professor Censored Over… ‘Firefly’ Poster?

    October 4, 2011

    by Adam Baldwin and Liberty Chick Brietbart.com   View this article at Brietbart.com.

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  • Adam Baldwin Fingers UW-Stout’s Censorship Double Standard at ‘Big Hollywood’

    October 4, 2011

    On Big Hollywood, actor Adam Baldwin has written an excellent piece about FIRE’s case at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS). It is getting hard to keep up with all of the press attention to the university’s censorship of two posters by theater professor James Miller. After all, it’s hard to believe that UWS would threaten a professor with criminal charges over his posters, report him to the university’s “threat assessment team,” and then tell the entire faculty and staff that UWS won’t defend their First Amendment rights. But that’s what UWS has done. Baldwin, with co-writer “Liberty Chick” (Mandy Nagy), has called […]

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  • BREAKING: Wisconsin University Reverses Decision to Remove ‘Firefly’ Poster

    October 4, 2011

    by Staff Editorial Big Hollywood   This morning Big Hollywood published a piece co-authored by our own Liberty Chick and Adam Baldwin critical of a Wisconsin university’s decision to force a theatre professor to remove two posters from his office door. This afternoon, the university in question reversed their decision. —– Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports: The recent discussion resulting from the removal of two posters hanging outside the door of a University of Wisconsin-Stout professor in Harvey Hall has raised serious First Amendment concerns, both on campus and across the country. It is important to note that the posters […]

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  • UW-Stout poster ruling overreaching

    October 4, 2011

    by Staff Editorial TheJournalTimes.com   View this article at TheJournalTimes.com.

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  • More than 900 Voice Opposition to Censorship at UW-Stout

    October 3, 2011

    The outpouring of support for University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) theater professor James Miller, whose Firefly and anti-fascism posters hung outside his office door resulted in threats of arrest and a report to his university’s threat assessment team, has streamed in from around the country. It’s not just the dozens of articles in the national media. So far, more than 900 free speech supporters (including a healthy share of Firefly devotees) have contacted the university through our website, calling on UWS to reverse the violations of free speech it has perpetrated against Miller and the UWS community. The groundswell of support has been quite […]

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  • More Dangerous ‘Threats’ Come to Light at UW-Stout after ‘Firefly’ Censorship

    October 3, 2011

    FIRE has learned that another professor has made a serious threat of violence at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UWS, also known as “Stout”): This professor clearly is making a threat to punch through the head of a colleague during a campus meeting. Someone should notify Chief of Police/Director of Parking Services Lisa A. Walter as soon as possible so that the UWS threat assessment team can assess the threat and take swift action to save the campus from feeling unsafe. Also, an alert reader has notified me that the “Stout Fight Song” may be an implied threat. Although Stout lost to […]

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  • Cue the Shameless Virginia Tech Comparisons: UW-Stout Takes Defense of Unconstitutional Censorship to New, Disgraceful Lows

    September 30, 2011

    I sometimes feel for the university spokespersons occasionally called on to defend unpopular decisions by their university—decisions which frequently are made by administrators without any clue about the likely public reaction, necessarily reduced to a set of talking points from which they must try not to depart.  But then I remember that such persons normally are paid salaries and benefits. And while the rents here in Philadelphia are a much better bargain than in New York or Washington, I’m guessing that the same money probably goes a little further in the greater Menomonie, Wisconsin, area, and that university spokespersons are […]

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  • ‘Firefly’ censorship debacle gets wildly out of hand at University of Wisconsin

    September 30, 2011

    by Jess d’Arbonne examiner.com   A University of Wisconsin professor aims to misbehave. Professor James Miller, a University of Wisconsin, Stout theater professor, has made headlines recently because of a battle over censorship with the school administration. And at the center of that censorship battle is none other than our favorite Space Western, Joss Whedon’s Firefly. According to Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, it all started when Professor Miller put a Firefly poster up on his office door on the UW-Stout campus on September 12th. The poster featured an imposing Malcolm Reynolds (played by […]

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  • Greg Reports the Latest on ‘Firefly’ Case in ‘The Huffington Post’

    September 29, 2011

    In his latest piece for The Huffington Post, Greg reports on FIRE’s outrageous case at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS). As he writes, despite FIRE’s wide-reaching publicity campaign, Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen released a statement earlier this week standing by the school’s decision to censor Professor James Miller. The case began when campus police removed a poster quoting a character from the sci-fi series Firefly from outside Miller’s office door, threatening to bring disorderly conduct charges against him should he post any other “threatening” images. When Miller posted a flyer mocking the school entitled “Warning: Facism,” he was reported to a campus […]

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  • Censoring Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the Chancellor Who Cried Wolf

    September 29, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post   A time comes in the life of every campus leader when a regrettable or silly mistake is made. If you serve long enough, errors are inevitable, but leaders should be judged not for their errancy, but how they handle mistakes when they do come up. By that measure, let’s take a look at Charles W. Sorensen, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. On Sept. 12, 2011, UW-Stout theater professor James Miller posted this tribute to the captain of the starboat Serenity, Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, from the beloved and short-lived sci-fi series Firefly, on […]

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  • University Police & Administration Freak Out Over Nathan Fillion Firefly Poster; Censor, Threaten Professor

    September 29, 2011

    Via Neil Gaiman, we come across yet another case of idiotic censorship by law enforcement who appear to have little understanding of the law. It involves a professor, James Miller, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, who had the temerity to put up a picture of actor Nathan Fillion on his door, with the text of one of his lines from the show Firefly: If you can’t read it, it says: “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” The […]

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  • What’s the Context of the ‘Firefly’ Quote?

    September 28, 2011

    University of Wisconsin–Stout Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen has absurdly doubled down on the university’s claim that a quote from the short-lived sci-fi classic Firefly is a credible threat of violence. In an email sent to faculty and staff yesterday, Sorensen writes: “It was our belief, after consultation with UW System legal counsel, that the posters in question constituted an implied threat of violence. That is why they were removed.” Sorensen’s claim that the quote is an “implied threat of violence” and thus properly subject to censorship is patently ridiculous. But some people have wondered if the quote itself was a […]

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  • 24 Hours Later, 500 Emails to UW-Stout Chancellor Demanding Justice in ‘Firefly’ Case

    September 27, 2011

    FIRE knew yesterday’s announcement of the University of Wisconsin–Stout’s (UWS’s) intimidation and bullying of theater professor James Miller would make a big splash, given its outrageous facts. Nonetheless, the response has been overwhelming, in the best of ways. Joanna noted yesterday the widespread attention the case has received in the media, which since then has only grown; today saw writeups of Miller’s shocking treatment in Gawker and the Onion-affiliated pop culture site The A.V. Club. Most incredible, however, has been the outpouring of support for Miller from free speech supporters (and more than a few Firefly devotees, spurred to action by actor Nathan […]

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  • Will on the Radio Tonight Discussing ‘Firefly’ Case

    September 27, 2011

    In case you missed it yesterday, the outrageous censorship of University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) professor James Miller’s Firefly poster has inspired lots of news media coverage. Be sure to check out today’s stories in Gawker and The Onion‘s AV Club. Tonight, FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley will be on “Thunk Tank Tuesdays” on WFMU (91.1 FM in the New York City area, and streaming online here) between 7:15 and 7:35 p.m. Eastern to discuss the case further. Don’t forget to tune in and follow along here on The Torch for more coverage of this case.

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  • Theater Professor’s Firefly Poster Declared a Threat

    September 27, 2011

    by Lauri Apple Gawker The campus police at the University of Wisconsin-Stout deserve praise, bravery medals, and $100 gift certificates to their favorite steakhouse for ripping down theater professor James Miller’s Firefly poster before it could murder any students. Oh wait—not praise and etc., but ridicule. Miller, once described as “a walking encyclopedia on all things theatrical,” hung up a poster on his office door that featured Firefly star Nathan Fillion and a quote that included the word “kill.” Worried that the poster would result in murder somehow, school police chief Lisa A. Walter decided it was a public safety […]

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  • ‘Firefly’ Case in FIRE News

    September 26, 2011

    This morning we reported that University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) professor James Miller has been censored twice, reported to the university’s “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings outside his office door. The first poster depicted a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly. After taking it down, the UWS Chief of Police threatened Miller with with criminal charges for disorderly conduct if he posted similar content in the future. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to FIRE for help. Because of the absurdity of this censorship, the […]

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