Emory University School of Law: Student Government Denied Recognition to Free Speech Group Because of Opposition to Mission and Purpose


Emory University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In October 2021, the Emory Free Speech Forum, a proposed law student group “devoted to fostering critical discourse and open dialogue surrounding important issues in law and society,” applied for a charter from Emory Law’s Student Bar Association. Despite fulfilling all criteria for recognition, the SBA refused recognition, criticizing the “nature of this group” because of the “harm that could result from . . . discussions” of “race and gender.” FIRE wrote to the SBA on November 1 calling for a reversal of this viewpoint-discriminatory decision and pointing out that this determination contradicts Emory’s commitment to free speech. After getting no response, FIRE sent a letter to Emory Law on January 10, 2022, requesting that the administration ensure the group is granted recognition.

The student group also enlisted help from the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism and the Emory Committee for Open Expression, which joined FIRE in condemning Emory for rejecting the student group for its debate-oriented mission. On March 23, Emory granted the group its charter.