Central Michigan University: Abridgement of Freedom to Display Patriotic Symbols

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Central Michigan University

At Central Michigan University, an administrator told several students to remove various patriotic posters (an American flag, an eagle, etc.) from their dormitory. On October 8, a Residential Advisor told them that their display was "offensive," and that they had until the end of the day to remove the items. As one student said, "American flags or pictures that were pro-American had to be taken down because they were offensive to people." FIRE brought the case to the attention of CMU’s President, Michael Rao and soon after, the University reaffirmed its obligations to the First Amendment and expressed regret at the actions of some residential dormitory staff.

  • FIRE’s Azhar Majeed Analyzes Central Michigan University’s Speech Codes

    October 7, 2014

    Thirteen years ago, Central Michigan University (CMU) officials forced students to take down posters that could be perceived as offensive to other students, even images of the American flag. Yesterday, the CMU Insider spoke to Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, to ask: Do CMU policies still violate students’ free speech rights today? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Like too many other colleges and universities, CMU is a “red light” school, meaning at least one of its policies clearly and substantially restricts constitutionally protected speech. CMU earns a red light rating in part for its Computing and […]

    » Read More

  • Victory for Free Speech at Central Michigan University; President Rao Defends and Affirms Free Speech and the Bill of Rights

    November 7, 2001

    MOUNT PLEASANT, MI-In a case that had achieved widespread national attention, students at Central Michigan University (CMU) secured a major victory for liberty when the University reaffirmed its obligations to the First Amendment. President Michael Rao, in a letter to FIRE today, made clear that any residential staff who asked students to remove materials from their dormitory doors acted without understanding his administration’s commitment to the Bill of Rights and to freedom of expression. Students had been asked by residential staff to take down displays in support of military action against terrorism. When the facts were brought to his attention […]

    » Read More