The State of Liberty on Campus: FIRE’s Year in Review

December 27, 2006

PHILADELPHIA, December 27, 2006—Throughout 2006, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rose to the task of combating repressive policies and practices in academia. FIRE continued to promote free speech in higher education by securing crucial victories, producing vital informational materials, and initiating new programs that lay the groundwork for lasting change on campus.
“It is amazing how much can happen in a year,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “2006 witnessed a rise in disturbing acts of censorship by administrators and by students themselves, and FIRE fought as many cases as we ever have, but we also made real progress. Every victory for individual rights on campus is a victory for all students and faculty.”
FIRE won many victories for free speech, religious liberty, student press freedom, and freedom of conscience throughout the year. These successes included:
FIRE also initiated new strategies for proactively combating threats to liberty on college campuses. These efforts included:
FIRE hopes to see even more victories for freedom in the first few months of 2007. Brown University is primed to recognize the Reformed University Fellowship, a student evangelical organization suspended for reasons that remain unclear. Heeding months of FIRE’s arguments, Gettysburg College is reviewing its sexual misconduct policy. And at Michigan State University, administrators are reevaluating a disciplinary program of ideological indoctrination.
Hoping to expand this list of successes, FIRE will continue its efforts to achieve justice for Johns Hopkins student Justin Park, whose one-year suspension for posting Halloween party invitations that some found offensive is set to begin in January. FIRE will also continue to demand that Marquette University, where an administrator tore a Dave Barry quote off a Ph.D. student’s door, clarify the status of free expression on its campus.
“2006 was a year of growth, of change, and of a continued commitment to advancing liberty at our nation’s institutions of higher learning,” Lukianoff said. “With the help of our generous supporters and our exceptional staff, we hope to make 2007 another year of reform on campus.”
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at www.thefire.org.
CONTACT:
Greg Lukianoff, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; greg_lukianoff@thefire.org