Free Speech

In September 2020, Duquesne University suspended education psychology professor Gary Shank after a student posted a recording of Shank’s class to Twitter, in which Shank repeated the word ‘nigger’ while discussing why use of the word in most contexts is considered inappropriate. Duquesne, while private, makes strong promises of free speech and academic freedom to... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In September 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, RAs at the University of Virginia reported to the student newspaper that they were barred from speaking to the press. FIRE wrote to UVA asking for clarification and reminding the university that it cannot constitutionally place a blanket ban on the RAs speaking with reporters. Read more


Free Speech

In August 2020, as campuses prepared for students to return amid uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic, RAs at two universities reported that they had been instructed not to speak to journalists. After FIRE wrote letters to the institutions, the University of Missouri pledged to clarify that its policies do not bar student employees from speaking... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020,  MSU began requiring student organizations to report the names of all event attendees to administrators in order to facilitate COVID-19 contact tracing. FIRE wrote to MSU on August 26, explaining that while MSU has a compelling interest in protecting student health, the First Amendment right to anonymous speech and association requires that... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020, students at the University of North Texas petitioned administrators to disband a conservative student group. A conservative non-profit organization, displeased with the student newspaper’s “biased” coverage of the controversy, issued a records request under Texas’ Public Information Act. The request asked administrators to require the newspaper to share unpublished materials. On August... Read more Read more


Free Speech

On July 16, 2020, Stockton University charged doctoral student Robert Dailyda with a litany of student conduct violations for using a photograph of President Donald Trump as his Zoom background during an online class and for posting about his political beliefs on Facebook. On August 7, FIRE wrote to Stockton calling on the university to... Read more Read more


Free Speech

During the civil unrest following the homicide of George Floyd, Midwestern State University professor Nathan Jun posted on his personal Facebook page in support of the protests, encouraging protesters to “respect existing law” but to expect police to respond violently. An elected county commissioner complained that Jun’s Facebook page featured a “black Antifa flag,” as... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020, UNT announced an investigation into the Journal of Schenkerian Studies after the music theory journal published a series of articles debating the relationship between racism and the theories developed by the journal’s namesake, 19th century music theorist Heinrich Schenker. The series had come under fire by some graduate students and faculty, who... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020, OSU announced it would require all members of the university community to sign the “Together As Buckeyes Pledge” in order to return to campus for the fall semester. While the pledge included general statements about health and safety on campus, it also required students and faculty to agree that they hold various... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020, Auburn University lecturer Jesse Goldberg tweeted in response to a video of plainclothes police officers detaining a protester using an unmarked van: “This is kidnapping. Fuck every single cop.” Goldberg’s social media commentary regarding the abolition of police drew criticism from Donald Trump, Jr., and calls for Goldberg’s termination by Alabama state... Read more Read more



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