FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

Category: Free Speech

FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project is a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. By imposing a real cost for violating First Amendment rights, the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project intends to reset the incentives that currently push colleges towards censoring student and faculty speech. Lawsuits will be filed against public colleges maintaining unconstitutional speech codes in each federal circuit. After each victory by ruling or settlement, FIRE will target another school in the same circuit—sending a message that unless public colleges obey the law, they will be sued.

Read more about this project at StandUpForSpeech.com



























    • Regulating Speech on Campus

      August 13, 2015

      By Cynthia M. Allen at Star Telegram Earlier this year, Harry Vincent, a sophomore at Texas Christian University, got some surprising news. He had been effectively suspended from school for a year — allowed to attend classes but prohibited from participating in any social activities and from living on campus. He was also ordered to serve 60 hours of community service, attend diversity and sensitivity training, and to meet biweekly with the associate dean of students, presumably to endure routine shaming for his offense. What was his transgression? Inappropriate tweeting. Vincent had made comments on Twitter and Facebook that caused […]

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    • TCU Student Suspended Over Tweets and Institution Determined Offensive

      August 2, 2015

      By Emily Hull at Sun Times Dallas A Texas Christian University student has been placed on probation and banned from campus activities for the comments he made in a Twitter fight with a Maryland woman during the 2014–2015 academic year. The Dallas Morning News reported: The family of Harry Vincent, 19, and an advocacy group are trying to pressure TCU to respect students’ free speech rights, abide by its disciplinary procedures and reverse its punishment of Vincent. The penalties were the result of a handful of Tweets, including ones slamming Islam, using a derogatory term for Mexicans and saying “hoodrat criminals” in […]

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    • Texas Christian U. Student Disciplined After Making Anti-Baltimore Riot, Anti-Islam Tweets

      August 1, 2015

      By Dave Huber at The College Fix Conservative TCU student Harry Vincent, who’s from Baltimore, got into it on Twitter with a liberal from Maryland. Apparently the liberal, named Kelsey, didn’t like what Vincent was tweeting, and soon “urged her followers to contact TCU to complain about Vincent’s tweets and ‘expose him.’” Vincent allegedly was “slamming Islam, using a derogatory term for Mexicans and saying ‘hoodrat criminals’ in Baltimore should be shipped to the Sahara Desert.” The Dallas Morning News reports: “It was more about political statements than anything else, and it got twisted into race,” said his father, Scott […]

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    • Valdosta State Case Puts College Officials On Notice: You Can’t Violate The First Amendment

      July 31, 2015

      By George Leef at Forbes Occasionally, you come across a legal case so strange that it makes you stop and wonder, “Is this even for real?” Such a case has recently come to an end with a strong victory for student free speech rights and an equally strong rebuke to the idea many college administrators seem to have that they hold king-like powers on campus. The facts are as follows. In early 2007, Hayden Barnes was a student at Valdosta State University in Georgia (VSU) when school officials announced plans to build a new parking garage using $30 million in […]

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    • Confederate Symbols, Swastikas and Student Sensibilities

      July 31, 2015

      By Joseph Berger at The New York Times Symbols — their meaning, history and power to hurt — have been a volatile topic across the country this summer, and college campuses have not escaped the storm. The Confederate flag became a target of outrage after the massacre of nine African-Americans at a historic church in Charleston, S.C., and the emergence of photos of the accused gunman waving the flag. Amid calls to remove the symbol from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, statues of Civil War figures at campuses in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Austin, Tex., were spray-painted with the message […]

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    • TCU, Student At Odds Over Comments on Social Media

      July 30, 2015

      By Deanna Boyd at Star Telegram FORT WORTH A TCU student says he’s been unfairly disciplined by the university for making comments about current events on social media after some complained that his choice of words was offensive. Harry Vincent said he was placed on “suspension in abeyance” — meaning for the next year he can only attend classes at the university or visit the school library but is prohibited from living on campus, activities like attending games, and must drop out of his fraternity. He said he was placed on disciplinary probation until his graduation from TCU and ordered […]

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    • Guess Who’s Paying for College’s $900,000 Settlement with Student it Expelled for a Facebook Collage

      July 28, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix We noted a recent settlement between Georgia’s Valdosta State University and a former student it had expelled for (no joke) making a collage against a proposed parking garage and posting it online. That followed an appeals court ruling earlier this year that the school president could be personally liable for that wrongful expulsion. The ruling must have freaked out the administration enough that it decided nearly a million was worth buying off this kid. And it illustrates the new calculus that schools might want to consider before taking grossly unconstitutional actions against students and […]

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    • Valdosta State U. Settles Free Speech Case With Student for $900K

      July 25, 2015

      By Aleister at College Insurrection This is a case that took eight years to play out. Now it’s paying out. The FIRE blog reported. Eight Years After Student’s Unjust Expulsion from Valdosta State U., $900K Settlement Ends ‘Barnes v. Zaccari’ ATLANTA, July 23, 2015—Today, more than eight years after his unjust expulsion, student Hayden Barnes’ federal civil rights lawsuit against Georgia’s Valdosta State University (VSU) and former VSU president Ronald Zaccari concluded with the announcement of a $900,000 settlement. In the spring of 2007, Barnes was expelled from VSU by Zaccari for a satirical environmentalist collage he posted on his […]

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    • Former VSU Student Awarded $900,000 in Free Speech Case

      July 25, 2015

      By Adam Floyd at The Moultrie Observer VALDOSTA — A lawsuit filed by a former Valdosta State University student against the school’s former president ended Thursday with a near million-dollar settlement. In 2008, Hayden Barnes filed a civil rights suit against VSU, then president Ronald Zaccari, other school administrators and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The suit stemmed from Barnes’ expulsion from the school in the spring of 2007 after he posted a “satirical environmentalist collage” on his personal Facebook page, according to Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), that helped Barnes file the […]

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    • Students Wring Nearly $1 Million Out Of Their Colleges For Violating Their Free-Speech Rights

      July 24, 2015

      By College Fix Staff at The College Fix Two big settlements landed this week in lawsuits facilitated by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, both involving students whose colleges tried to limit or punish their speech. Rather than let its president personally face hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, Valdosta State University agreed to a $900,000 settlement with Hayden Barnes, FIRE said Thursday. As The College Fix reported in January, an appeals court ruled that Valdosta State President Ronald Zaccari could be held personally liable for having Barnes expelled in 2007 for making an environmental-protest collage against proposed school parking […]

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    • After an Eight-Year Legal Battle, Former College Student Wins $900,000 in Free Speech Case

      July 24, 2015

      By Maria Santos at Red Alert Politics A former college student has been vindicated in a long-running free speech case, winning a $900,000 settlement from the school that kicked him out over a Facebook post eight years ago. In 2007, Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes was protesting the building of two new campus parking garages. Barnes, a passionate environmentalist, posted a parody picture to his Facebook page of the “Zacarri Memorial Parking Garage”—“Zacarri” being the last name of then-VSU president Ronald Zacarri. Barnes meant the joke as a prod at Zacarri’s boasts about the garage being a “legacy” […]

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    • Free Speech Suit Against Valdosta State Settled

      July 24, 2015

      By Tribune News Service at Albany Herald VALDOSTA (TNS) — A settlement was reached this week in a years-long federal lawsuit filed by a former Valdosta State University student regarding violation of his First Amendment rights, according to an announcement by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The $900,000 settlement to be paid by the state insurer ends years of legal proceedings stemming from Hayden Barnes’ 2008 lawsuit against the university and then-president Ronald Zaccari, as well as the Board of Regents for the state’s university system. Barnes was expelled from Valdosta State in 2007 after the student protested […]

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    • This Student Was Expelled for Speech. He Just Won a $900,000 Settlement—A Mere 8 Years Later.

      July 24, 2015

      By Robby Soave at Reason Online Former Valdosta State University student Hayden Barnes is $900,000 richer today after settling with former VSU president Ronald Zaccari, who had Barnes expelled for peacefully protesting the university’s development plans in the spring of 2007. Barnes was concerned about the environmental and financial cost of building a new parking structure on campus and created a collage to explain his opposition to the proposal. There was nothing disturbing or threatening about the collage, but Zaccari claimed that it constituted a threat. He had Barnes labelled a danger to campus and expelled. (Zaccari may have been […]

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    • College Free Speech Zones Violate First Amendment

      July 14, 2015

      By Catherine Sevcenko for The Express News “Don’t mess with Texas” is good advice, but student activist Nicole Sanders has a related warning for Blinn College in Brenham: Don’t mess with the Bill of Rights. Administrators at Blinn College have repeatedly insisted that Nicole get their permission before expressing her views on campus about gun and privacy rights. This didn’t sit well with Nicole, so with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, she sued the college on May 20 in federal court for violating her First Amendment rights. Nicole did not come to the decision […]

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    • Schools Mend Their Repressive Ways

      July 8, 2015

      By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow Two schools in different states – each with the same problem: speech codes and policies that prohibit student free speech – have seen the error of their ways. Students at Dixie State University in Utah filed a suit after they were told their flyers depicting two former U.S. presidents along with an image of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara “disparaged” the former chief executives. Catherine Sevcenko of theFoundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says the students contacted them for help. “I cannot imagine anything that is greater core political speech than mocking a U.S. president,” […]

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    • Snuff Campus Speech Codes

      July 8, 2015

      By Editorial at Las Vegas Review-Journal Summer is generally a pretty quiet time on college campuses, but the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is certainly trying to keep the heat on public universities that stifle the First Amendment. Last July, FIRE launched its Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, which has been a certifiable success so far. In a Huffington Post commentary last week, Will Creeley, FIRE’s vice president of legal and public advocacy, wrote that his organization has coordinated First Amendment lawsuits challenging speech codes at 10 institutions. Of the five suits settled so far, FIRE has won […]

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    • You Can Now Safely ‘Disparage’ People At UNC Without Violating A Speech Code

      July 7, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has eliminated all speech codes after working with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for the past year, the 21st such institution to earn the group’s “green light” rating, FIRE said today. UNC quickly scrapped one “yellow light” policy – “concerning distribution of student flyers in residence halls” – after FIRE said it violated the First Amendment, and just eliminated its last speech code, which prohibits speech that “disparages” others. FIRE staffer David Deerson, a UNC alum, started banging the drum against UNC’s policies as a student. “It is tremendously exciting […]

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    • Study: Less Than 5 Percent Of Colleges Uphold The First Amendment

      June 24, 2015

      By Elizabeth Potter at Washington Examiner A new study says that less than 5 percent of colleges and universities surveyed have policies in place that respect the First Amendment right to free speech, while more than half are violating either the First Amendment or free speech promises made by these schools. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is an educational nonprofit that reviews 437 college and university speech codes every year in an effort to “defend the individual rights of students and faculty members at colleges across the country,” said Azhar Majeed, director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. […]

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    • The Empty ‘Marketplace of Ideas’

      June 22, 2015

      By Ed Feulner at The Washington Times Americans take justifiable pride in their right to free speech. People may be muzzled by their government in places such as Cuba and North Korea, but not here. You can say what’s on your mind without fear of prosecution. But can you do so without fear of persecution? More and more, it seems, the answer is no. Say the “wrong” thing, and the Outrage Police swarm you. Do we need a communist government to shut down debate when we’re eager to do it ourselves? To be sure, political correctness isn’t a new phenomenon. Aggrieved […]

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    • Conservative And Libertarian Messages Require High ‘Security Fees’ On Campus

      June 10, 2015

      By Matt Lamb at The College Fix ANALYSIS Restrictions on student speech, such as free speech zones, often hit groups across the ideological spectrum in roughly the same way. Conservative and libertarian groups, however, sometimes get an odd choice from campus administrators: You can speak, but it’ll cost you. Messages that could theoretically provoke violence because they stir up such strong emotions seem to be a favorite target of the pay-to-play option on campus. It’s only when watchdog groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervene that administrators back down, according to […]

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    • The Campus Crusaders

      June 2, 2015

      By David Brooks at The New York Times Every generation has an opportunity to change the world. Right now, college campuses around the country are home to a moral movement that seeks to reverse centuries of historic wrongs. This movement is led by students forced to live with the legacy of sexism, with the threat, and sometimes the experience, of sexual assault. It is led by students whose lives have been marred by racism and bigotry. It is led by people who want to secure equal rights for gays, lesbians and other historically marginalized groups. These students are driven by […]

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    • Student Sues School for Banning Sign Supporting Second Amendment

      May 30, 2015

      By Rick Moran at American Thinker A student at Blinn College in Texas is suing the school for banning the display of a sign in a public space at the school supporting the Second Amendment. Nicole Sanders, along with another student, were outside the student center holding signs when they were approached by a school official who said that there had been a complaint that the sign was “offensive.” and that they would need “special permission” in the future to display them. The other sign was simply marked “LOL” with the “O” being the Obama logo. Fox News: Sanders claims a […]

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    • Display of Swastika Causes a Row

      May 28, 2015

      By Narayan Lakshman at The Hindu When a ‘Jewish student’ placed a Hindu swastika obtained as a souvenir on a trip to India on his residence hall’s bulletin board on March 16, it led to a suspension order and charges, including those relating to disorderly conduct and discrimination, with the possibility of an investigation into ‘hate crimes’. Following a revocation of the suspension order, the student was reinstated this week to full status at the George Washington University (GWU) after an outcry by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF). According to FIRE […]

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    • GWU Drops Its Ignorant Attack on Student who Posted Hindu Symbol

      May 28, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix All it took was international condemnation and threats of legal action! George Washington University – the first college in the nation to crack $50,000 in “total cost of attendance” for students – won’t expel a student after all who posted a symbol resembling a Nazi swastika on his house’s bulletin board, which turned out to be a Hindu religious symbol, the Times of India reports. The school made a big stink about the symbol when it was first discovered – President Steven Knapp even opened a hate-crime investigation – yet has made nary a […]

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    • Texas Student Sues After College Bans Gun Rights Sign

      May 28, 2015

      By Maxim Lott at Fox News A Texas college student filed suit against her school this week, saying her constitutional rights were violated when she was shooed off the quad for displaying a pro-Second Amendment sign. Nicole Sanders, 24, who attends Blinn College, a two-year public college in Brenham, Texas, said she and a classmate at the 18,000-student school were holding signs near the student center in February when they were told to move. Sanders’ sign read, “Defend Gun Rights on Campus,” and the other said “LOL,” with President Obama’s logo as the “O.” The pair was trying to attract members […]

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    • Student Fights Back After School Official And 3 Armed Campus Police Stop Her From Displaying These Signs

      May 28, 2015

      By James Beattie at Western Journalism A Texas college student filed a First Amendment lawsuit against her school last week after she was told she would need “special permission” to collect signatures for a new student organization and display her conservative-leaning signs. Fox News reported that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is aiding student Nicole Sanders in a lawsuit against Blinn College, a community college located about 75 miles west of Houston in Brenham, Texas. Sanders’ lawsuit challenges Blinn’s policy of restricting expression to a “Free Speech Area” (seen below) unless one obtains a permit, which entails going through […]

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    • George Washington University Rescinds Suspension Of Jewish Student Who Displayed The Hindu Swastika Symbol

      May 28, 2015

      By Raif Karerat at The American Bazaar WASHINGTON, DC: Following international outcry and the threat of litigation, George Washington University has opted to rescind the suspension it doled out to a student who posted a Hindu swastika on his residence hall’s bulletin board. The Hindu swastika — which is a religious symbol and carries none of the hateful connotations of its Nazi-appropriated counterpart — was displayed on a bulletin board in GWU’s International House residence hall and subsequently mistaken for the Nazis’ World War II-era emblem on March 16. The student, who is a member of the predominantly Jewish fraternity […]

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    • Texas College Student Sues School Over Pro-Gun Sign (VIDEO)

      May 26, 2015

      By Jared Morgan at Guns.com A Houston college student sued her school last week over claims the institution infringed on her constitutional right to free speech. The incident occurred Feb. 2, when Nicole Sanders and other students were collecting signatures for the formation of a new student club chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian and conservative youth organization. According to the complaint, students held politically charged signs, one ridiculing the Obama administration and the other promoting gun rights on campus, but were doing so outside the university’s free speech area. The students were told by a Blinn College […]

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    • UC Considers Unconstitutional Speech Codes To Punish Anti-Semitism

      May 26, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix The University of California’s board of regents is voting in July whether to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. President Janet Napolitano supports adopting that definition, she told WBUR’s Here & Now program. That’s a dangerous idea, according to Will Creeley at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, because it could punish students for their free expression. State Department examples of anti-Semitism include claiming that Jews exaggerated the Holocaust or that they are “more loyal” to Israel than their home nations – speech that’s certainly offensive but protected by the First Amendment, Creeley […]

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    • Purdue Adopts ‘Chicago Principles’ to Protect Free Speech

      May 23, 2015

      By Tribune Wire Reports at Chicago Tribune A new policy at Purdue University stresses its commitment to free speech regardless of how “unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive” the language is. Trustees this month approved a policy modeled on free speech principles first approved by the University of Chicago in January. The move makes Purdue the first public university to adopt the measure, which also is in place at Princeton University. The “Chicago principles” arose from a string of events that tested universities’ commitment to open discourse, according to a report by University of Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression. […]

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    • Student Sues Texas College After Being Told Gun Rights Sign Needs Special Permission

      May 21, 2015

      By FIRE at Ammoland Houston, TX -(Ammoland.com)- Blinn College student Nicole Sanders filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the public institution near Houston today after being told by an administrator last February that she would need “special permission” to display a gun rights sign and collect signatures for her student group on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) assisted Sanders in filing the federal lawsuit, the tenth lawsuit filed as part of FIRE’s national Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. The lawsuit challenges Blinn’s policy of restricting speech to a tiny “Free Speech Area,” as well as the […]

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    • Gun-Rights Advocacy Is Too Dangerous For Texas College To Allow, Lawsuit Claims

      May 21, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix A vindictive ceramics professor The prospect of students publicly advocating for Second Amendment rights at Blinn College so worried one administrator that she told student activists not to expect to get permission to do it, according to a new lawsuit. That fear of libertarian advocacy also allegedly drove a professor to make vague threats against a student activist. The public college in Texas is the latest target of the Stand Up For Speech project by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has taken particular aim at college speech codes and free speech zones that limit […]

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    • Campus Police Intimidate Student Over Her Anti-Obama & Pro-Gun Signs

      May 21, 2015

      By Kit Daniels at Infowars.com A college student is suing her school after three campus cops and an administrator ordered her not to carry an anti-Obama sign and a pro-gun sign on campus without “special permission.” Nicole Sanders, a student at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, was recently demonstrating with the signs when she was told she needed permission for them and had to stay in the college’s “free speech zone,” which is about the size of a parking space. “I felt that the police were there to intimidate us to stop without any problems and it worked,” she told […]

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    • Student Sues College After Gun Rights Sign Needed ‘Special Permission’

      May 21, 2015

      By Mary Lou Byrd at The Washington Free Beacon A student at a Texas college filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming administrators shut down her free speech event that included a gun rights sign, telling her she needed “special permission” and that it was unclear if she could advocate for gun rights on campus. Nicole Sanders filed the federal lawsuitagainst Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, after her event was shut down earlier this year. The lawsuit challenges the school’s restrictions on free expression, including the policy that requires college officials approve all material distributed on campus. Sanders and another student were […]

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    • Student Files First Amendment Lawsuit Against Blinn

      May 21, 2015

      By Patrick Crank at Brenham Banner- Press A Blinn College student in conjunction with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the college Wednesday. Nicole Sanders is suing Blinn after being told by a college administrator in February that she needed “special permission” to display a sign advocating gun rights as well as collect signatures to join a student group known as the Young Americans for Liberty on campus. The lawsuit is aimed at challenging Blinn’s restriction of free speech to a designated area as well as an alleged lengthy approval process by […]

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    • Tolerance and Totalitarianism

      May 21, 2015

      By Michael Shermer, Co-authored by Frank Turek at The Huffington Post A disturbing trend is sweeping across American colleges and universities under the guise of protecting students from allegedly offensive speech — defined differently by different interest groups — with demands for everything from “trigger warnings” to banning speakers from campus. Trigger warnings are supposed to be issued to students before readings, classroom lectures, or public talks on such topics as sex, addiction, bullying, suicide, sizeism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, slut shaming, victim-blaming, and who-knows-what-else, thereby infantilizing students instead of preparing them for the real world where they most assuredly will […]

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    • A Liberal Calls Out Intolerant Leftists Who Smother Free Speech On Campus

      May 20, 2015

      By Adam Kissel at The John William Pope Center When Columbia University’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board complained a few weeks ago that “many texts in the Western canon [contain] triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities,” I thought of China, whose education minister vowed to ban “textbooks promoting Western values” earlier this year. The rise of intolerance on campus and beyond makes a new book by columnist and television commentator Kirsten Powers a must-read. If you do not yet believe that American higher education is smothered in intolerance of diverse ideas, read The Silencing: How the Left is Killing […]

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    • Suit Challenges “Free-Speech Zone” at Brenham Community College

      May 20, 2015

      By Benjamin Wermund at Houston Chronicle When Nicole Sanders brought a couple of signs to campus to recruit for the Young Americans for Liberty chapter she was trying to start at Blinn College, she attracted plenty of attention – but not the sort she wanted. Sanders and a couple of friends were demonstrating for “campus carry” gun legislation at the Brenham community college; they also held a sign showing opposition to President Barack Obama. Sanders said a school administrator and three uniformed, armed campus police officers told the students that she and her friends would need “special permission” to display […]

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    • Student Sues Blinn College, Says ‘Free Speech Zone’ Violates First Amendment

      May 20, 2015

      By Benjamin Wermund at Houston Chronicle When Blinn College student Nicole Sanders brought a couple of signs to campus to recruit for the Young Americans for Liberty chapter she was trying to start at the Brenham community college, she attracted plenty of attention. Just not the attention she was hoping for. Sanders, who, with a couple of friends, was demonstrating on campus with a sign advocating for campus carry and one anti-Obama sign, says she was approached by a school administrator and three uniformed and armed campus police officers. She says she was told that, even though Blinn is a […]

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    • Student Sues Texas College After Being Told Gun Rights Sign Needs ‘Special Permission’

      May 20, 2015

      By Jo-Carolyn Goode at Houston Style Magazine HOUSTON, March 20, 2015—Blinn College student Nicole Sanders filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the public institution near Houston today after being told by an administrator last February that she would need “special permission” to display a gun rights sign and collect signatures for her student group on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) assisted Sanders in filing the federal lawsuit, the tenth lawsuit filed as part of FIRE’s national Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. The lawsuit challenges Blinn’s policy of restricting speech to a tiny “Free Speech Area,” […]

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    • Mitch Daniels Wasn’t Kidding About Free Speech on Campus

      May 19, 2015

      By Matt Welch at Reason Online In my interview with former Indiana governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, we had the following exchange on the always-contentious topic of campus free speech: REASON: For those of us who don’t spend a lot of time on college campuses and get our information through oftentimes partisan media, it can seem like it’s just a hellbroth of micro-triggering and people in free-speech cages over in a corner. What’s your assessment of the climate of free speech on campus nationwide, and at Purdue? Is it as bad as some of us suspect? Mitch Daniels: In […]

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    • 3 Things to Know: Purdue’s Free Speech Policy

      May 18, 2015

      By Joseph Paul at Journal & Courier On a weekend overshadowed by graduation ceremonies and tuition freezes, Purdue University adopted a new free speech code modeled on the“Chicago principles” of free speech. The “Commitment to Freedom of Expression,” a policy adopted Friday by the Purdue University Board of Trustees, permits speech that’s “unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive” — language that’s identical to a measure first approved by the University of Chicago in January. “Our commitment to open inquiry is not new, but adopting these principles provides a clear signal of our pledge to live by this commitment and these […]

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    • Team Mitch: Purdue Gets ‘Green Light’ Rating For Junking Speech Codes

      May 15, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix Former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, the onetime hope of conservative college students as a Republican presidential candidate (he never ran), has drawn raves for his various moves as president of Purdue University. Daniels secured another notch in his belt today: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education awarded the school a “green light” rating for its free-expression policies, after working with the school to totally eliminate its speech codes with Daniels’ support. Purdue also adopted an expansive academic-freedom statement similar to that of the University of Chicago, FIRE said. It’s only the 21st institution […]

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    • Purdue Takes A Stand For Free Speech, No Matter How Offensive Or Unwise

      May 15, 2015

      By Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post Purdue University has become the first public institution of higher education to adopt a free speech policy called the “Chicago principles,” condemning the suppression of views no matter how “offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed” they may be. The board of trustees passed a measure endorsing those principles on Friday. Purdue President Mitch Daniels plans to address some of the same points in his remarks at the Indiana university’s commencement ceremony this weekend. The Chicago principles were crafted and approved at the University of Chicago in January and has since been adopted by the […]

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    • Cal Poly Pomona Student at Center of Free Speech Debate

      May 13, 2015

      By Carla Rivera at Los Angeles Times Cal Poly Pomona student Nicolas Tomas never thought handing out leaflets promoting a vegan diet would become so controversial. But when college administrators moved to restrict his activities, Tomas sued the university. His case became a flashpoint in the debate over how far universities should go to promote tolerance and civility on their increasingly diverse campuses — and whether some of those policies unfairly restrict constitutionally protected free speech. Although virtually all academics say they support freedom of speech, many also argue that campuses have good cause to be sensitive to activities that […]

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    • Boston U Prof Now Sorry for ‘Indelicate’ Tweets Blasting White Men

      May 13, 2015

      By Maxim Lott at Fox News A newly hired Boston University professor is sorry for her “indelicate” tweets bashing white males and vows to be fair to all of her students, after the school’s president and several alumni complained that her comments were bigoted. Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at the school, had tweeted in recent weeks that “white masculinity is THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges,” that white men are a “problem population,” and that “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i […]

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    • How Liberals Ruined College

      May 11, 2015

      By Kirsten Powers at The Daily Beast The root of nearly every free-speech infringement on campuses across the country is that someone—almost always a liberal—has been offended or has sniffed out a potential offense in the making. Then, the silencing campaign begins. The offender must be punished, not just for justice’s sake, but also to send the message to anyone else on campus that should he or she stray off the leftist script, they too might find themselves investigated, harassed, ostracized, or even expelled. If the illiberal left can preemptively silence opposing speakers or opposing groups— such as getting a […]

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    • Opinion: Should Dixie State University Be Applauded For Allowing Free Speech?

      May 10, 2015

      By Dallas Hyland at The South Utah Independent  Last week, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education representing three Dixie State University students, DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams announced in both a campus wide email and to various press members that the current free speech codes were being placed under a moratorium. Seeing that a moratorium is the suspension of an activity, the fact that Williams would make such an announcement infers that it has been realized that the speech codes no longer serve the best interests of the university. But it begs […]

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    • Dixie State Announces It Will Revise Free Speech Polices In Wake Of Lawsuit

      May 10, 2015

      By Mori Kessler at St George News ST. GEORGE – In an email sent to students and faculty Monday, Dixie State University President Richard Williams announced parts of the university’s speech policy are being suspended while staff review and revise it. The announcement comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed against the school in March by three student who claim DSU’s speech policies were unconstitutionally restrictive. Aiding the students in pursuing the lawsuit is FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It has brought to our attention the need to update and revise some of our University policies […]

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    • FIRE Makes Another University Back Down on Speech Restrictions

      May 7, 2015

      By George Leef at National Review The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has a great record when it comes to getting colleges and universities to abandon their policies against free speech. A new case is Dixie State University in Utah, where administrators told students affiliated with Young Americans for Freedom that they would not be permitted to hand out flyers. Read about it here. What’s particularly interesting in the Dixie State case is that the students’ flyers were critical of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, connecting both with Che Guevara. “Naughty, naughty” said the speech police. “We […]

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    • It’s Time for a New Free Speech Movement on Campus

      May 7, 2015

      By Bonnie K. Snyder at American Thinker As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, it’s worth noting a significant anniversary in higher education that’s gone largely unnoticed by the majority of the press and broadcast media. It’s been 50 years since University of California Berkeley student Mario Savio, protesting university crackdowns on political advocacy by student organizations, famously climbed the steps of Sproul Hall and gave his impassioned speech that defined the original Free Speech Movement. “We’re human beings!” he famously implored, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so […]

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    • Professors Asked To Remove Mohammad Drawings After Complaints Of Blasphemy

      May 7, 2015

      By Alexandra Zimmerin at The College Fix Students and others claimed caricature of prophet is ‘very offensive,’ should not be allowed University of Minnesota faculty members were asked earlier this year to take down posters advertising an academic panel because they included an “offensive” recreated cartoon picture of Mohammed – the one made famous by Charlie Hebdo earlier this year. The posters had advertised a panel discussion by various professors as well as a Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper cartoonist. Co-sponsored by a dozen academic departments in the College of Liberal Arts following the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo […]

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    • Dixie State University To Revise Policies To Protect Free Speech

      May 6, 2015

      By Mary Lou Byrd at The Washington Free Beacon Dixie State University, located in St. George, Utah, announced Tuesday it will suspend its unconstitutional speech codes and amend other policies after a lawsuit filed by three students challenged the university and its restriction of their free speech. Dixie State President Richard Williams announced in an email to the campus community that the university will revise its policies and suspend its speech codes. “As we work toward writing an updated, comprehensive free speech policy, the administration is mindful of Dixie State’s mission, which is to be ‘a teaching institution that strives to enrich […]

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    • Utah University Suspends Speech Rules After Lawsuit

      May 6, 2015

      By Lindsay Whitehurst at SF Gate SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Dixie State University has suspended its campus speech rules amid a lawsuit from students who say the policies violated their right to free speech. The president of the southern Utah institution announced in an email that the school is updating rules that a group of students said blocked the posting of fliers with satirical pictures of President Barack Obama, former PresidentGeorge W. Bush and the revolutionary leader Che Guevara. President Biff Williams said in the all-campus email Monday that he was troubled that the students didn’t bring the concerns […]

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    • Cal Poly Pomona Suspends ‘Free Speech Zone’ Policy

      May 6, 2015

      By Beau Yarbrough at The Sun POMONA >> A month after a Cal Poly Pomona student sued the university over a policy that limited political speech to permit-holders standing in a defined area on campus, the university has said it will not enforce the policy while the matter is being litigated. “We have agreed to a standstill while we go through negotiations,” Cal Poly spokeswoman Esther Tanaka said Wednesday. “We’re pleased that the negotiations have been productive.” On March, 31, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of Nicolas Tomas, 24, a senior majoring […]

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    • DSU Altering Free Speech Policies

      May 6, 2015

      By Kevin Jenkins at The Spectrum Dixie State University President Biff Williams announced Monday that some of the school’s public address policies will no longer be enforced as DSU works to establish a comprehensive Free Speech policy that balances the First Amendment rights of students, faculty and staff against efforts to promote “civility and community values” on campus. “Given the nature of academic inquiry, only an open, robust and critical environment for speech will support the quest for knowledge and understanding,” Williams’ email to DSU students, which was shared with The Spectrum, stated. According to the email, until a new […]

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    • Dixie State University Suspends Speech Restrictions in Wake of Suit by 3 Students

      May 6, 2015

      By Bob Nelson at KUER A lawsuit by three Dixie State University students against the school has resulted in the suspension of what the students call unconstitutional free speech codes on campus. The suit was filed in federal court in March. It focuses on DSU’s flyer approval process and posting policy, the defined free speech zone, and club event policies. Attorneys for the non-profit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE are supporting the suit. Catherine Sevcenko is an associate director of litigation for FIRE. She says their organization works with universities around the country on First Amendment problems. […]

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    • College Settles Suit Rather Than Try To Justify ‘Speech Tax’ On Student Group

      May 6, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix Remember the “security fee” that Boise State University charged a student group to host a pro-Second Amendment speaker on campus last year? The school folded under pressure from civil liberties groups, and now Western Michigan University has done the same – only it had to shell out way more. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced that WMU settled the group’s Stand Up for Speech lawsuit by agreeing to “revise its policies to comply with the First Amendment and pay $35,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.” In order to get permission to […]

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    • Pres. Williams Announces Moratorium on Several DSU Free-Speech Codes, Lawsuit Continues

      May 5, 2015

      By Marcos Camargo at The South Utah Independent On Monday, May 4, Dixie State University President Richard Williams announced a moratorium on many of the school’s speech codes. The policy change, released in a campus-wide email, came as a result of a lawsuit, filed by three students against DSU in March, alleging that the university violated the students’ free speech rights. The lawsuit was filed after school officials refused to approve the distribution of fliers criticizing Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush as well as revolutionary leader Che Guevara.  In addition to refusing to approve the fliers, the suit […]

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    • Subjecting Free Speech to the Assassin’s Veto

      May 5, 2015

      By Sonny Bunch at The Washington Post Free speech is under assault around the globe. Consider, for instance, the vow from British Labour leader Ed Miliband to “outlaw” language deemed offensive to Muslims. “We are going to make [Islamophobia] an aggravated crime,” Miliband said. “We will challenge prejudice before it grows, whether in schools, universities or on social media.” Meanwhile, others in the United Kingdom are pushing for anti-Semites on social media to be treated like sex offenders: banned from services such as Twitter and Facebook for the good of all. Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Ed Miliband’s Britain share a disdain […]

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    • Dixie State University Plans to Revise Free Speech Policies

      May 5, 2015

      By Morgan Jacobsen at Deseret News ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University announced Monday it has placed a moratorium on parts of its free speech policy after three students sued the university in March for refusing to let them post satirical fliers. University leaders also plan to revise policies dealing with free speech as well as materials posted on campus bulletin boards and residence halls. In an email Monday, Dixie President Richard Williams said he was “troubled” that students didn’t try to resolve the issue with him before taking legal action, but it did highlight the need to “update and […]

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    • Dixie State Tosses Free Speech Limits After Students Sue Over Bush Posters

      May 5, 2015

      By Annie Knox at The Salt Lake Tribune A lawsuit brought by three students has forced Dixie State University to drop its limits on free speech — at least until attorneys draft new campus rules. The St. George school announced Monday that students no longer need prior approval to post fliers or hold events on campus. Dixie State President Richard Williams announced the changes in a university-wide email. He called Dixie State a campus “where even unpopular answers, seemingly absurd ideas, and unconventional thought are not only permitted, but even encouraged.” Still, Williams urged students and others to use caution. […]

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    • WMU to Pay $35,000 to Settle Free-Speech Lawsuit Filed by Kalamazoo Peace Center

      May 4, 2015

      By Rex Hall Jr. at MLive KALAMAZOO, MI – Western Michigan University will pay $35,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed last year by a student group that said the university’s policies are unconstitutional and restrict free speech on campus. That’s according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a Philadelphia, Pa.-based organization that assisted the Kalamazoo Peace Center in its legal action, which was filed in October in U.S. District Court. Attorneys for WMU and the Peace Center reached a settlement Thursday, according to court documents. Those documents did not disclose the terms of the settlement, however. The […]

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    • “College Students are Human Veal”: Abetted by Idiot Administrators, Today’s Students Seem Incapable of Living in the Real World.

      May 4, 2015

      By Nick Gellespie at Reason Online Yesterday’s deadly shootout at a “Draw Mohammed” contest in Texas drives home the fact that free expression is under violent attack even in the United States. So too does the bomb threat called in to break up a “GamerGate” meetup in Washington, D.C. There’s also a softer form of repression that is flourishing, especially on the nation’s college campuses. Call this, as Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Indvidual Rights in Education (FIRE) has, the “freedom from speech” movement. In the 1960s, student activists pushed for freedom of speech and the right to talk […]

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    • ‘Microaggression’ Exhibit at Brandeis ‘Microaggresses’ Students

      May 4, 2015

      By Gabriella Morrongiello at Campus Reform Members of the school’s Asian American Student Association hung signs on campus describing the “microaggressions” allegedly endured by Asian students. The AASA president later apologized to the Brandeis student body after some students complained the display was “triggering.” Only on a college campus would an art project about microaggressions become a microaggression itself. Members of Brandeis University’s Asian American Student Association (AASA) were recently pressured to apologize after hanging posters outside a campus building aimed at addressing the “microaggressions” Asian students allegedly endure on a daily basis. The collection of small white signs hung […]

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    • Harvard Faculty Backs Democrats 96% of the Time, Says School Paper

      May 1, 2015

      By Maxim Lott at Fox News Republicans running for president might as well skip any fundraisers at Ivy League universities like Harvard, where a new analysis shows 96 percent of faculty donations over the last three years went to Democrats. Academia in general, and the elite northeastern schools in particular, have long been seen as a bastion for left-wing professors. Nationally, about two-thirds of college professors say they are liberal and less than a tenth identify themselves as conservative, according to one study. The imbalance at Harvard, uncovered by the student newspaper Harvard Crimson surprised even Harvard administrators. “If someone gets in trouble […]

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    • Going Through FIRE to Protect Our Rights: College Students Feel Heat on Campus Over Free-Speech Issues

      April 20, 2015

      By Editorial Staff at The Augusta Chronicle Young people are the future. It stands to reason, then, that they must understand their freedoms if freedoms are to endure into the future. Enter FIRE. The nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (www.thefire.org) helps protect students’ rights, particularly their First Amendment right to free speech. Unless you’ve followed FIRE, you’d be amazed at how much those basic rights are under assault today on American college campuses – which, in the 1960s, actually came to symbolize free speech. Like many college administrations, officials at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, not only set […]

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    • DWT Asked To Serve As Legal Counsel for Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

      April 17, 2015

      By Lisa Zycherman at JD Supra Constitution Day 2013 was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our public university campuses. That was the day that Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the Constitution outside of his school’s tiny “free speech zone.” On that same day, near Los Angeles, Citrus College student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle was threatened with removal from campus for the “offense” of collecting signatures for a petition against National Security Agency (“NSA”) domestic surveillance outside his college’s tiny free speech area. The absurdity of these constitutional violations […]

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    • Student Sues Public University for Requiring ‘Free Speech Permit’

      April 17, 2015

      By Bonnie Kristian at The Week College is a time of learning, making friends, and keeping your damn mouth shut unless you’ve been given permission to speak — or so it seems that may be the case at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) in Southern California. The school has developed a Byzantine listof requirements for students who want to exercise free speech on campus, even though, as a public school, CPP is legally required to guarantee First Amendment speech rights on its grounds. “At Cal Poly, students have to wear a free speech badge in the free speech zone and can only get that […]

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    • Free-speech Violations May Cost Cal Poly Pomona

      April 13, 2015

      By Editorial Board at LA Daily News College administrators are in the business of education. So what is it about their own academic careers that has left so many of them so woefully uneducated about the historical importance of free speech in America? Time and again, highly paid bureaucrats at Southern California public colleges and universities have created unconstitutional “free speech zones” on their campuses aimed not at encouraging free speech but rather at throttling and ghettoizing it. They make up these rules and create tiny little areas for pamphleteering and politicking even though when they do so they frequently […]

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    • Cops Threaten Dog Owner with $750,000 Fine Over ‘Missing Dog’ Posters: Washington, D.C., Practically Bans First Amendment

      April 13, 2015

      By Kit Daniels at Inforwars.com Washington, D.C., police threatened a dog owner with a $750,000 fine for posting ‘Missing Dog’ posters across town. After losing his dog Ollie on March 30, Roger Horowitz was initially encouraged by police to post ‘Lost Dog’ posters on lamp posts, but a police officer recently told him to tear them all down. “So he told me that regardless if we put up the fliers, or if other people put them up, we had made the original flier that had my phone number, and that we could get fined up to $750,000,” he said to […]

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    • Cal Poly Pomona Student Sues Over ‘Free Speech Zone’

      April 9, 2015

      By Beau Yarbrough at LA Daily News POMONA >> A student is suing Cal Poly Pomona after he was told that political speech on campus could only occur in a tiny “free speech zone.” Nicolas Tomas, 24, a senior majoring in nutrition, began handing out Vegan Outreach pamphlets advocating the vegan lifestyle and decrying the treatment of farm animals in the fall of 2013. “I’m passionate about animal rights, and one of the things we do is we advocate for a vegan diet,” he said. “Because there’s no animal products in the diet and that’s one of the major causes […]

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    • California, A University Student Sued the School Violated the Freedom of Speech

      April 9, 2015

      Note: The original version of this article was written in Chinese. The translation was provided below by Google Translate. By Guo Jian at US China Press [ Press Network compiled Zhang Yang April 9] According to the report, “Conte La Costa Times” (Contra Costa Times) 10 reported that the California Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) a student of the school to initiate proceedings. Previously, he was told, in the school campus political speech can only be a small “free speech area”. Now 24-year-old Nicolas Thomas (Nicolas Tomas) is a student at the school nutrition, the fall of 2013, when […]

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    • Violate Students’ Free Speech Rights, Prepare to be Sued

      April 9, 2015

      By David Deerson at The Sacramento Bee Apologies to the Beach Boys, but if you’re going to college in California, it’s pretty hard to be true to your school. Last week, student Nicolas Tomas took a step to make his university, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, worthy of his allegiance. An animal rights advocate, he sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights. When he tried to distribute fliers exposing industrial farming practices, campus security officers sent him to get a permit. It gets worse. Like many schools nationwide, Cal Poly Pomona confines students to a tiny “free speech […]

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    • Student Sues Cal Poly Pomona, Claims Free Speech Restricted

      March 31, 2015

      By John Schreiber at mynewsla.com A Cal Poly Pomona student sued the university Tuesday for allegedly restricting how federally protected free speech rights can be exercised on campus. Nicolas Tomas filed the suit in Los Angeles federal court, contending that campus police last month stopped him from distributing animal rights fliers on the sidewalk and asked him to obtain a badge and permit to pass out the fliers only in a tiny, designated “free speech” zone. A representative for the university was not immediately available for comment. “I came to college excited not only to further my education but to […]

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    • Litigation Is Beginning to Free Up Speech on Campus

      March 31, 2015

      By Jennifer Kabbany at National Review The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is busy making good on its promise to fight for students’ free speech rights through a massive litigation campaign. Since last year, FIRE’s Stand Up For Free Speech effort has filed nine First Amendment lawsuits against campuses that quash the First Amendment, according to its website. Four of the cases have already enjoyed successes in FIRE’s favor, and the others continue to wind their way through the court system. FIRE’s early victories in its litigation campaign illustrate that colleges’ limits on free speech are onerous and […]

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    • Wear This Badge And Don’t Leave This Zone If You Want To Speak At Cal Poly Pomona

      March 31, 2015

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix An animal rights activist at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is suing the school for making him get permission to hand out flyers and confine his activity to the school free-speech zone as a condition of his campus activism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is assisting Nicholas Tomas with the suit through its Stand Up for Speech litigation project, explains the situation: The lawsuit alleges that on February 4, a Cal Poly Pomona police officer stopped Tomas from handing out flyers on a campus sidewalk. The officer directed Tomas to the Office of […]

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    • Student Animal Rights Activist Sues California State Polytechnic University for Free Speech Restrictions

      March 31, 2015

      By Jennifer Champagne at Paste Magazine Animal rights activist and California State Polytechnic University student Nicolas Tomas has filed a lawsuit against his university for restricting his free speech rights. Tomas has partnered with Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which protects and preserves students’ rights across college campuses. According to the lawsuit, Tomas alleges that a campus police officer had stopped him from distributing animal rights flyers on the sidewalk, asking Tomas to obtain a permit to pass out flyers on campus at a designated “free speech” zone for students. The zone makes up barely 0.01 percent of […]

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    • University Requires Students to Apply for “Free Speech Permits”

      March 31, 2015

      By Kit Daniels at Infowars.com California Polytechnic State University-Pomona is now requiring students who engage in free speech activities on campus to apply for a permit issued weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public university recently required student Nicolas Tomas, who was handing out flyers, to not only get a “free speech permit” but to also seek approval from school officials over the content of his hand-outs and to restrict his activity to a campus “free-speech zone.” “Cal Poly Pomona’s campus policies impose a web of restrictions before students can distribute literature on campus: They must check in […]

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    • New Testimony Sheds Light on School’s Abuse of Free Speech

      March 30, 2015

      By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow To keep the pressure on colleges and universities nationwide to revise their unconstitutional speech policies, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has filed several lawsuits as part of a litigation project begun last July. In the latest development in one of those lawsuits, LaShondra Peebles, an administrator at Chicago State University, filed a statement on March 20 that college president Wayne Watson had pressured her into making a false sexual harassment complaint against professor Philip Beverly. Beverly had been outspoken in his criticism of the president and his college administration, and Peebles stated that Watson had […]

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    • Fascism Much? Dixie State U. Prohibited Flyers That Mocked U.S. Presidents

      March 30, 2015

      By Robby Soave at Reason Online Administrators at Dixie State University prohibited libertarian students from handing out flyers to promote their club because the flyers featured images that playfully mocked U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Mockery, even of national political figures, is considered disparaging behavior and is forbidden under school policy. Here are a few of the offending images from the flyers, according to The College Fix: That’s right: Using memes and catchphrases to lamely poke fun at kings Bush and Obama was deemed impermissible at a public university in the state of Utah. If that wasn’t […]

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    • Higher Ed., Lower Thinking: 2 States Dumb-Down Student Speech

      March 12, 2015

      By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow A university in Utah believes that students should not say or post anything that “disparages” or mocks any individual — even including Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara — while a university in Wisconsin prohibits all speech that can cause “emotional discomfort.” In the Beehive State, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) students at Dixie State University filed a lawsuit after the school refused to approve YAL promotional flyers that featured negative images of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) executive director Robert Shibley argues that such […]

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    • University Attempts To Regulate Free Speech Wall, Gets Sued

      March 12, 2015

      By Taylor Grenawalt at Campus Reform Students at Utah’s Dixie State University have filed a lawsuit against the university for attempting to regulate their free speech. The Young Americans for Liberty organization at Dixie State attempted to organize a free speech wall with the use of promotional flyers. The flyers characterized presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, along with Communist revolutionary leader Che Guevara, in a satirical manner that the university did not approve of. According to the school, policy prohibits students from mocking individuals and all promotional flyers must be “in good taste.” Not only was the YAL […]

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    • OPINION: Dixie State University Lawsuit And The Millstones Of Justice

      March 8, 2015

      By Dallas Hyland at the SU Independent Last week, three Dixie State University students, with the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), filed a lawsuit against the school for the unconstitutional restrictions placed on the First Amendment Rights of the students. FIRE maintains that DSU is a repeat offender of First Amendment rights citing the incident in 2012 where student, Indigo Klabanoff was thwarted, hazed, and threatened by the administration for attempting to have a club using Greek Letters in its name. (That was the school’s contention but it was seen by some as a thin […]

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    • Students Banned from Handing Out Flyers Critical of Obama, Bush, Che Guevara

      March 6, 2015

      By Mary Lou Byrd at The Washington Free Beacon Three students have filed a lawsuit against Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated when flyers they made promoting their student club were censored by school officials. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is assisting with the lawsuit, which was filed this week against the university. Dixie State disapproved of promotional flyers by the student group Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), which negatively portrayed Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. The flyers were not approved because the school […]

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    • DSU Club Sues University Over Free Speech Limits

      March 5, 2015

      By Kevin Jenkins at The Spectrum ST. GEORGE – Three members of a Dixie State University club are suing the school over alleged violations of their Constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law after efforts to draw participation in an on-campus rally were allegedly frustrated by school officials. William Jergins, Joey Gillespie and Forrest Gee are listed as the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday against DSU’s president, police chief, dean of students and other officers, in which the students seek changes to school policy and monetary damages, as well as expenses for their out-of-state […]

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    • Young Libertarians Sue Dixie State U, Clinton Will Release Some Emails, Ferguson as Conspiracy Against Residents: A.M. Links

      March 5, 2015

      By Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason Online “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them,” Hillary Clinton tweetedlast night, days after it was revealed that Clinton used a personal email address, kept on a privately-managed server, during her time as Secretary of State. But “at very best, Clinton is asking State to turn over emails that her staffers have already weeded through and marked as potentially acceptable for public consumption,” writes Peter Suderman. A new lawsuit aims to decriminalize prostitutionin California. Filed by the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project, the suit alleges […]

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    • Dixie State Violates Free Speech, Students Say in Lawsuit

      March 4, 2015

      By Lindsay Whitehurst at The Associated Press Three Dixie State University students filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying that administrators at the southern Utah college violated their free speech rights by refusing to let them post fliers with satirical pictures of former President George W. Bush and the revolutionary leader Che Guevara. The members of Young Americans for Liberty also say one of their events designed to celebrate free speech was wrongly relegated to a small, out-of-the-way part of the St. George-based campus. The lawsuit filed in federal court seeks damages and changes to rules the students call arbitrary. “I don’t […]

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    • Ohio University Settles Students’ Free Speech Lawsuit

      February 3, 2015

      By The Associated Press at wnewsj.com COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio University will revise its student conduct code and pay $32,000 to a student and his attorneys to settle a lawsuit challenging that code. The lawsuit filed last summer on behalf of Isaac Smith alleged administrators violated constitutional free speech rights by telling students not to wear T-shirts bearing a sexually suggestive double entendre. The slogan had been used by a campus group that provides free help for students facing the school’s judicial process. Members at an involvement fair wore shirts with a phrase that could reference that assistance but […]

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    • Free Speech, Political Correctness Struggle To Coexist On Campus

      December 22, 2014

      By Michael Barone at The Washington Examiner The total discrediting of Rolling Stone’s story on rape at the University of Virginia has shined a light on one of the least palatable features of American life: the so-called epidemic of rape on campus. Authorities from Barack Obama on down have cited the phony statistic that one in five college women is raped. Phony, because it’s based on a 2007 survey conducted at two Midwestern schools, not of a random sample, but of a small number of self-selected respondents. The study also includes unwanted touching and kissing in its broad definition of “sexual […]

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    • OU Responds To T-Shirt Lawsuit

      December 10, 2014

      By Dave DeWitt at The Athens News An attorney for Ohio University has filed an answer to a federal lawsuit filed by a current student alleging violation of free speech when university officials are alleged to have ordered a campus group to stop wearing a T-shirt. The lawsuit, filed July 1 in U.S. District Court in Columbus by student Isaac Smith, charged that OU officials illegally and unconstitutionally ordered students at the Campus Involvement Fair in late August 2013 to stop wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, “We Get You Off for Free,” claiming it was offensive. In a response […]

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    • Citrus College Never Learned Its Free-Speech Lessons: Editorial

      December 10, 2014

      Editorial at Whittier Daily News Let the $110,000 Citrus College had to fork over this week to settle a free-speech lawsuit by a student be a lesson to other area colleges and schools: Stop abridging the First Amendment rights of those you teach. Really. You are supposed to be teaching, among other things, about that crucial amendment to the Constitution along with the nine others that give Americans so many freedoms in so many ways. Instead, what Citrus College administrators did by their actions was to give students a lesson in the way the First Amendment works. It’s that when […]

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    • California College Gets Busted, Again, For Violating Free Speech

      December 9, 2014

      By Bob Kellog at OneNewsNow Citrus College student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle was collecting signatures for a petition against the National Security Agency domestic surveillance while staying inside the school’s free-speech zone. Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, explains that Sinapi-Riddle ran into trouble when he talked to someone during a break. “He started talking to somebody about the petition,” Shibley advises. “And that’s when the administrators caught him and told him he could only discuss those political matters within the free speech zone.” Citrus is a community college of approximately 12,300 students located in Glendora. […]

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    • College Reaches $110K Free Speech Settlement With Student

      December 9, 2014

      By CS Staff at Campus Safety Magazine Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., has settled a lawsuit with a student who claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when an administrator threatened to remove him from campus for collecting petition signatures. Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle was asking for signatures on a petition against the federal National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance activities when an unidentified administrator told him he was outside the school’s designated “free speech zone.” The college has agreed to pay Sinapi-Riddle $110,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, as well as revise its policies, Fox News reports. The college said it […]

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    • FIRE Celebrates Two Victories for Free Speech on Campus in 24 Hours

      December 4, 2014

      By Aleister at College Insurrection I don’t know if people truly appreciate the work that FIRE does for free speech, particularly at colleges and universities. Congratulations and thank you, FIRE. Second Victory in 24 Hours: College that Suppressed Anti-NSA Petition Settles Lawsuit LOS ANGELES, December 3, 2014—Today, Citrus College in California agreed to settle a student’s free speech lawsuit for $110,000, marking the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) second victory for the First Amendment in 24 hours. Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle filed the federal lawsuit in July as part of FIRE’sStand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Sinapi-Riddle was threatened […]

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    • California College Settles First Amendment Suit With Student

      December 4, 2014

      By Fox News at Fox News A California community college has settled a lawsuit with a student who claimed it violated his First Amendment rights when an administrator threatened him for collecting petition signatures outside of a small, designated “free speech zone.” Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, sued Glendora, Calif., Citrus College after the incident, which occurred on Sept. 17, 2013 – the day designated as “Constitution Day.” Sinapi-Riddle was collecting signatures for a petition condemning the federal National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance activities. When he left the area for a lunch […]

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    • UH Settles First Amendment Suit

      December 3, 2014

      By Colin M. Stewart at Hawaii Tribune-Herald A pair of University of Hawaii at Hilo students is claiming a victory for free speech after the school agreed Tuesday to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed in April. Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone sued the university after an administrator stopped Burch from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution and another told them to restrict a protest of the National Security Agency to a “free speech zone” on campus. In line with the settlement, the university revised its speech policies systemwide to allow free speech and the distribution of literature in “all […]

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    • Citrus College Settles Free Speech Lawsuit By Student

      December 3, 2014

      By Melissa Masatani at San Gabriel Valley Tribune Citrus College is modifying its free speech policy and procedures after the college settled a First Amendment lawsuit on Wednesday. A lawsuit filed in July on behalf of Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle claimed the school violated the student’s constitutional rights when he was told he could not collect signatures outside of the college’s “free speech area.” In the settlement, Citrus agreed to a $110,000 payment and will be expanding the free speech area to include most open spaces on campus; changing current procedures regarding recognized student groups; and clarify what constitutes as harassment, according […]

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    • Another Victory For Fire

      December 3, 2014

      By Editor at Minding The Campus The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has just scored yet another victory for free speech. In a sadly familiar case, the University of Hawaii at Hilo prevented students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone from handing out copies of the US Constitution. A UH adminstrator told them they could only conduct such advocacy in a limited “free speech zone,” adding that “this isn’t really the ’60s anymore.” Additing insult to injury, the area they designated as a “free speech zone” was often flooded. With the help of FIRE’s attorneys, Burch and Vizzone successfully […]

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    • College That Squelched Student Speech Under Court Supervision For A Year

      December 3, 2014

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix Citrus College in California settled a lawsuit with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed on behalf of a student who was stopped from collecting petition signatures on Constitution Day. FIRE said the school would pay the student $110,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, and that it has revised speech-squelching policies, “agreed not to impede free expression in all open areas of campus” and adopted a First Amendment-compliant definition of “harassment.” The federal court overseeing the settlement will also retain jurisdiction for a year, so the student can “enforce the agreement without […]

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    • U of Hawaii Agrees To New Free Speech Policy

      December 3, 2014

      By The Associated Press at Seattle Post-Intelligencer HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii revised its free-speech policy and will pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by two students who claimed their rights were violated. University of Hawaii, Hilo students Merritt Burchand Anthony Vizzone sued after an administrator stopped Burch from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution. A second administrator told Burch and Vizzone to move their protest against spying by the National Security Agency to a “free speech zone” at the edge of the campus, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1vjWs7v) reported. The revised free speech policy allows free speech and distribution […]

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    • Update: University Settles Speech-Squelching Lawsuit, Changes Policies

      December 2, 2014

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix Rather than continue explaining why the U.S. Constitution is so offensive that students can’t pass it out in most public areas on campus, the University of Hawaii-Hilo settled a lawsuit brought by students with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. As The College Fix previously reported, the school adopted an interim policy that suspended the anti-speech measures after the lawsuit was filed this spring. To recap, according to FIRE: Students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone sued UH after one administrator stopped Burch from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution […]

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    • Judge Will Consider ISU’s Motion To Dismiss Marijuana T-Shirts Lawsuit

      November 12, 2014

      By Melissa Erickson at Ames Tribune Iowa State University’s trademarks are the school’s property, and their use suggests ISU endorses a particular message, the university is arguing in their attempt to have a lawsuit filed by a marijuana advocacy student group dismissed. Arguments on the university’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by members of the ISU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, or NORML, will be heard next week before the chief justice of the District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. ISU students Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh, the current president and […]

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    • Citrus College: Campus Speech Codes Used to Stifle Anti-NSA Speech (VIDEO)

      November 6, 2014

      By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post Imagine: a student trying to oppose the NSA’s Orwellian spying program is told by an official on the campus of public university that he cannot do so outside of the university’s Orwellian (and tiny) “free speech zone.” I know, I know, I usually bristle at the use of “Orwellian” as well. It’s invoked too often at too low a threshold, but here it is warranted. Both our overzealous spy agency and the term “free speech zone” being used to justify banning free speech from 99 percent of a campus do seem to come […]

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    • The Continuing Collapse Of The 1st Amendment

      November 4, 2014

      By Nat Hentoff at WND This nation’s leading rescuer of the First Amendment arguing before the Supreme Court, attorney Floyd Abrams, now warns of another rising danger. Speaking on Oct. 23 at the 15th anniversary of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), he warned the only organization as actively devoted to the First Amendment as he is about the damage to free speech caused by college campuses retracting invitations to public speakers. “If litigation (as FIRE is doing) is one necessary tactic to deal with such speech-limiting policies, the other is simply exposure of the misconduct, with the attendant […]

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    • Lawsuit Says WMU Policies Restrict Free Speech, Prevented Boots Riley Visit To Campus

      October 22, 2014

      By Rex Hall Jr. at MLive KALAMAZOO, MI – A student group is taking Western Michigan University to court for policies it contends are unconstitutional and serve to restrict free speech on campus. The 26-page action was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids by the Kalamazoo Peace Center and the organization’s co-directors, Jessica Clark and Nola Wiersma. It names as defendants WMU President John M. Dunn, Vice President of Student Affairs Diane Anderson, former WMU Department of Public Safety Chief Robert Brown, Department of Public Safety Deputy Chief Blaine Kalafut, Associate Registrar Laura M. Thomas, and Jan Van Der Kley, […]

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    • Lawsuit Targets Campus ‘Speech Tax’

      October 22, 2014

      By Blake Neff at The Daily Caller A civil liberties organization is taking a Michigan university to court as part of its aggressive campaign to check speech limitations on America’s college campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has filed a federal lawsuit against Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo over what it alleges is an illegal “speech tax” the school levies on speakers whose views are deemed extreme or controversial. The plaintiff in the case is the Kalamazoo Peace Center, a self-described “hub for progressive activities” at WMU that refers to its general membership as “the Collective.” For the […]

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    • Student Group Files Free Speech Lawsuit Against Western Michigan University With Help From FIRE

      October 21, 2014

      By Morgan Chalfant at Red Alert Politics In its continuing effort to “stand up for speech,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is currently assisting a student group at Western Michigan University file a First Amendment lawsuit against the college. The student group Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC) filed the lawsuit Monday over an incident that occurred last spring during the student organization’s “Peace Week” events. Specifically, KPC invited rapper and progressive activist Boots Riley to participate in Peace Week and deliver an address. After the announcement of the speaker, the university charged the group a “security fee” of $62 […]

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    • Public University Threatens Students Passing Out U.S. Constitution Outside ‘Free Speech Zone’

      October 15, 2014

      By Ashley Dobson at Red Alert Politics Southern Oregon University officials threatened a group of four students with disciplinary action and a call to the police after the group was seen passing out U.S. Constitutions outside of a designated “free speech zone.” The public university currently has a “zone” amounting to less than 1 percent of the campus where students are allowed to pass out pamphlets and espouse their opinions. While passing out the copies and collecting signatures against this policy, the students were spotted in a “residential area” by campus officials, Campus Reform reports. The students were on a sidewalk […]

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    • The Academic Campaign Against Free Speech

      October 4, 2014

      By Frank Vernuccio at Examiner.com From one end of the nation to the other, the most fundamental portion of the Bill of Rights, the right to freedom of speech and assembly, is under persistent, sustained, and serious attack at our academic institutions. The particular targets of this assault tend to be those students who express traditional beliefs in patriotism, faith, and liberty. Systematic methods are employed by colleges to restrict First Amendment rights. These include: Restricting free speech in all but so-called “free speech zones,” which are tightly regulated. In practice, many of the concepts that tend to be forced out of the general […]

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    • Millennials are Winning the Battle Against Campus Speech Codes

      October 1, 2014

      By Elliot Engstrom at Townhall Despite its protection in our Constitution, free speech has never been a given in the United States. From the struggle to pass the First Amendment to Twentieth Century prohibitions on anti-war speech, every American generation has fought some sort of battle to protect this most sacred of rights. In 2014, Millennials are waging their generation’s fight for free expression on college campuses across the nation. And today, they are winning. Over the past several decades, “speech codes” have proliferated at an alarming rate across our nation’s college campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education […]

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    • FIRE’s Mounting Lawsuit Attacks Bringing Free Speech Back to College Campuses

      September 24, 2014

      By Nat Hentoff at CATO Institute In what may become the most compelling free-speech campaign in our educational history, FIRE (Foundation For Individual Rights in Education) has embarked on a lawsuit campaign to restore and guarantee the existence of free speech on our college campuses. Speaking before the National Press Club in Washington on July 1, Greg Lukianoff, President of FIRE, first focused on speech codes that ban from college campuses such offensive speech as “inconsiderate jokes” and “inappropriately directed laughter” and — believe it or not — passing around copies of the Constitution. Yes, our Constitution! These speech codes also […]

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    • Changes in Student Code of Conduct Coming Soon

      September 24, 2014

      By Conor Morris at The Athens News Ohio University has released a number of proposed updates to its Student Code of Conduct, part of which was challenged earlier this year by a federal lawsuit from a student who charged that the Code of Conduct violated students’ First Amendment rights. The lawsuit by Isaac Smith, a fifth-year senior at OU, charges that university officials illegally and unconstitutionally ordered students at the Campus Involvement Fair in late August, 2013, to stop wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, “We Get You Off for Free,” claiming it was offensive. The lawsuit was coordinated by […]

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    • Speech Free and FIRE-d up on U.S. Constitution Day at Modesto Junior College

      September 17, 2014

      By Nan Austin at The Modesto Bee The First Amendment got some exercise at Modesto Junior College, with free-speech walls displaying the profound as well as the profane. Student groups handed out copies of the U.S. Constitution on both MJC campuses in honor of Constitution Day. “I like it. I think it’s a good way to get things in a public forum,” said theater major Ethan Lang on Wednesday after posting this quote by a favorite comedian, the late George Carlin: “The best thing about anything is not knowing what it is.” Looking around the posts, Lang said, “You can see […]

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    • Struggles to Protect Free Speech on Our College Campuses Continue

      September 17, 2014

      By Nat Hentoff at CATO Institute  As I have often reported, FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) continually fights in the courts and media to protect the free speech rights of students and faculty on college campuses — no matter their politics or religion (or absence of any). However, much remains for FIRE to do to educate students on why and how they are Americans. Earlier this month, that defender of America’s most primal identity warned: “As millions of college students arrive on campus this fall — many for the first time — few of them realize that nearly 59 […]

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    • ISU Asks Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit over Marijuana T-Shirts

      September 15, 2014

      By MacKenzie Elmer at The Des Moines Register Iowa State University is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by student members of a pro-marijuana group who claim the university violated their constitutional rights. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is representing ISU, filed a motion Sept. 4 countering claims that the university violated students’ freedom of speech when it banned the use of its mascot on the group’s T-shirts. Members of the campus chapter’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws filed the lawsuit against university administration in July. Claims by Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh, ISU students and […]

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    • This Academic Year, Colleges Should Eliminate Speech Codes — or Prepare for Their Day in Court

      September 2, 2014

      By Azhar Majeed at The Huffington Post One would think that American colleges and universities do not need many added incentives to uphold the free speech rights of their students and professors. After all, protecting freedom of speech on campus meets universities’ legal obligations under the First Amendment (in the case of public institutions) and honors institutional promises of free speech made in official handbooks and materials (in the case of private schools). Doing so allows students and faculty members to exchange diverse viewpoints with one another and to learn from their fellow classmates or colleagues. And it ultimately benefits […]

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    • OU Receives Extra Time to Reply to Free-Speech Lawsuit

      August 24, 2014

      By Conor Morris at The Athens News Ohio University has requested and been granted additional time to respond to a federal lawsuit brought by a current student regarding free-speech issues on campus. The lawsuit, filed July 1 in U.S. District Court in Columbus, charges that OU officials illegally and unconstitutionally ordered students at the Campus Involvement Fair last August to stop wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, “We Get You Off for Free,” claiming it was offensive. The suit’s plaintiff is Isaac Smith, a fifth-year senior at OU who is associate director for the campus group Students Defending Students (SDS). The named defendants […]

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    • Trending: Conservatives, Christians Take Campus Battles to Court – And Win

      August 11, 2014

      By Jennifer Kabbany at The College Fix They’ve been ordered not to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution. They’ve been denied promotions because of their faith. They’ve been forced to help pay for abortion-inducing birth control. They’ve been judged solely by the color of their skin. And they’re fighting back. And they’re winning. Conservative and Christian students and professors who have been denied free speech or faced discrimination and religious persecution because of their beliefs have recently enjoyed a string of courthouse victories in what’s amounting to something of a banner year for such causes. There’s been at least six […]

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    • Colleges: Drop Your Speech Codes

      August 8, 2014

      By David Moshman at The Huffington Post This summer, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) initiated four new First Amendment lawsuits against college censors. Additional lawsuits will follow, it announced, until unconstitutional speech codes, which are common across the nation, have been eliminated. How should college officials respond? Here’s some free advice: Join the quest for intellectual freedom in higher education. Eliminating a speech code costs nothing, will make you look good, may avoid a lawsuit and, best of all, is the right thing to do. I will elaborate on these four reasons below. But first, let’s look more closely at college […]

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    • When Free Speech and Friendliness Collide, Some Colleges Are Caught in the Middle

      July 24, 2014

      By Eric Schulzke at Deseret News Last September, a Modesto Junior College student was stopped by a campus police officer for circulating copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus without a permit. “You need permission from the student development office,” the officer told him in the Sept. 17 videotaped encounter. The action then shifted to an administrative office where a woman offered to help him schedule time in the the “free speech zone” — a 25 square-foot piece of concrete on a corner of campus set 30 yards off the nearest walkway. The zone needed to be scheduled days or weeks in […]

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    • Turning College Into a No-Thought Zone

      July 14, 2014

      By Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg View Last September, Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, a student at Citrus Community College near Los Angeles, was collecting signatures on a petition asking the student government to condemn spying by the National Security Agency. He left the school’s designated “free speech area” to go to the student center. On his way there, he saw a likely prospect to join his cause: a student wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt. He stopped the student and they began talking about the petition. Then an administrator came out of a nearby building, informed them their discussion was forbidden outside […]

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    • EDITORIAL: Saving Campus Speech

      July 11, 2014

      At The Washington Times Congress is considering a constitutional amendment to eliminate the free-speech protections of the First Amendment. Over at the Internal Revenue Service, high-level officials are caught harassing American citizens for their political beliefs, but obstructing the exercise of free speech is not limited to Washington. College campuses everywhere have dropped the pretense of academic freedom, adopting speech codes to restrict what can be said or thought, lest someone take offense at the expression of an unfamiliar idea. The frightened few cowering in the faculty lounge want to sanitize the public discourse. Earlier this month, the Foundation for Individual […]

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    • Stop Zoning Free Speech at Citrus College: Editorial

      July 10, 2014

      At Los Angeles Daily News Thank goodness for zealots when it comes to defending fundamental American rights such as that of free speech. That’s because it takes purists sometimes to be able to stand up for our constitutional right to express our opinions. When those opinions are offensive to many or even to a few, the tendency especially of institutions in our society is to clamp down rather than to open up. But, in that memorable phrase from Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” No matter that what constitutes extremism often is a […]

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    • Iowa Students Stand Up Against Censorship of Marijuana Legalization

      July 9, 2014

      By Catherine Sevcenko at The Huffington Post Iowa State University invites its students to craft their own educational “adventure” as they obtain a college education. Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich are students at ISU whose adventure has included censorship and, now, a federal lawsuit. Erin and Paul are president and vice-president of the the Iowa State Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML ISU). Their group advocates the legalization of marijuana, which even the White House Office of Drug Policy acknowledges “is a topic of significant public discourse in the United States.” Whether they are right or wrong as […]

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    • Chicago State University Sued for Violating First Amendment Rights

      July 9, 2014

      By Bryant Jackson-Green at Illinois Policy The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, filed a lawsuit against Chicago State University, or CSU, last week, accusing the university of “[engaging] in an ongoing campaign to silence … criticisms of how the university is run” when it tried to shut down an independently operated faculty blog. Since at least last year, CSU’s administration has been in open conflict with faculty members who contribute to “CSU Faculty Voice.” The blog is known for criticizing alleged cronyism, waste and the generally questionable management decisions of the university. In November, lawyers for the administration demanded the blog be taken down, claiming […]

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    • On Free Speech, Citrus College a Slow Learner

      July 8, 2014

      By Will Creeley at Los Angeles Register When it comes to free speech, Citrus College is a slow learner. A decade after paying thousands of dollars to end one First Amendment lawsuit, it now faces another. On Sept. 17, 2013, Citrus College student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle was gathering signatures on campus for a petition protesting the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens. Vinny’s decision to advocate for civil liberties on that date was no accident; Sept. 17 is Constitution Day. But Vinny soon found out that Citrus College doesn’t much care for the Bill of Rights. After striking up a conversation […]

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    • Education Colleges Learn Risks of Curbing Free Speech

      July 8, 2014

      By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow During its fifteenth anniversary of fighting for free speech rights on college campuses, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed four lawsuits in one day. F.I.R.E. is coordinating lawsuits against Ohio University, Chicago State University, Iowa State University and Citrus College in California. Litigation Coordinator Catherine Sevcenko explains the strategy behind this new effort at curbing unconstitutional speech policies. “We have sort of hit a core of universities that seem to think that they don’t have to worry about their unconstitutional policies,” she says. “And so we are trying to change that calculus.” She says the […]

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    • UNLV Must Champion Free Speech on Campus — or Face Potential Lawsuit

      July 7, 2014

      At Las Vegas Review-Journal Free speech, a cornerstone of our nation’s democracy, is supposed to thrive on college and university campuses. Students can best sharpen their critical thinking skills through open, robust debate on any and all ideas. All too often, however, the free exchange of ideas on campuses only goes as far as the sensibilities of the most easily offended. As a result, administrators at campuses across the country — including right here in Nevada — have increasingly embraced heavy-handed, politically correct policies that discourage and even prohibit protected speech. These policies include the implementation of speech codes, required permits […]

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    • Suing for Speech on Campus

      July 7, 2014

      By Spencer Case at National Review Online Free speech on campus is about to get its day in court. Last week the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) brought four lawsuits against universities with speech codes they believe are unconstitutionally restrictive. The lawsuits mark the launch of the Stand Up for Free Speech Litigation Project, which aims to end barriers to free speech on campus nationwide. FIRE has been an advocate for liberty on campus since it was founded 15 years ago. They have brought lawsuits in the past when efforts to persuade university administrations to abandon unconstitutional practices have failed. […]

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    • Chicago State Stomps out Free Speech

      July 7, 2014

      By Azhar Majeed at Chicago Tribune As residents of Chicago know, Chicago State University has run into a seemingly never-ending series of legal and administrative problems over the years. So it’s probably no surprise that Chicago State fares poorly in respecting the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty. That’s why the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (where I am an attorney) helped two faculty members file suit against the school last week. It’s one of four lawsuits launched on a single day with the aim of changing the culture of censorship on campuses nationwide to one where free […]

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    • Speech Codes Unfairly Restrict Expression

      July 5, 2014

      By Samantha Harris at The Columbus Dispatch  The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against Ohio University (“ OU group sues administrators over T-shirt,” Dispatch article, Wednesday) is about much more than just a slogan on a T-shirt. Despite decades of legal precedent upholding the First Amendment rights of public university students, the majority of public universities, including OU, still maintain policies that unconstitutionally restrict student speech and expression. At OU, for example, students can be punished under the student conduct code for “any act which demeans, degrades, (or) disgraces any person.” The code does not define any of these terms. It is easy to see, […]

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    • Lawsuits Launched to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

      July 4, 2014

      By Deirdre Fulton at Mint Press News A Philadelphia-based nonprofit devoted to defending free speech and civil liberties on college campuses filed four lawsuits on Tuesday and announced the launch of its Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, “a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), founded in 1999 by University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate, brought lawsuits against Citrus College in California, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Ohio University. The suits allege that administrations violated student and faculty rights through unconstitutional […]

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    • Four Universities Sued by FIRE for Free Speech Violations

      July 3, 2014

      By Staff at The Washington Free Beacon The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed coordinated lawsuits against against four universities due to the schools’ speech codes, which FIRE says are unconstitutional. FIRE is suing Ohio University, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Citrus College (Calif.) for their restrictive policies on free speech. The lawsuits are part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, which aims to put an end to universities’ constraints on free speech through “targeted First Amendment lawsuits.” “Unconstitutional campus speech codes have been a national scandal for decades. But today, 25 years after the first […]

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    • Free Speech: Isn’t That What College Is Supposed to Be About?

      July 3, 2014

      By Times Editorial Board at Los Angeles Times College campuses ought to be — but often aren’t — bastions of free speech. Sometimes it’s students who choke off debate, as occurred last year when hecklers at Brown University drowned out a speech by New York City’s police commissioner. But some college officials also suppress speech. According to a lawsuit filed this week, that was the case at Citrus College in Glendora. The lawsuit against the Citrus Community College District was brought by a student named Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle with the assistance of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based […]

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    • FIRE Launches ‘Stand Up For Speech’ Litigation Project to End Speech Codes

      July 3, 2014

      By Robert Shibley at National Review Online For more than two decades, speech codes—policies on college campuses that limit what and where students may engage in free expression—have been a constant problem. First struck down (in the modern era of political correctness, anyway) 25 years ago in the case of Doe v. Michigan, speech codes have nevertheless hung on and miseducated a generation of students about freedom while robbing them of their basic rights. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) has spent its 15 years of existence fighting these codes, systematically classifying them, and engaging in public advocacy aimed at convincing […]

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    • Lawsuit Challenges Citrus College’s Free Speech Rules

      July 3, 2014

      By Jeanne Kuang at NBC Los Angeles A lawsuit filed against Citrus College on Tuesday aims to do away with the school’s allegedly unconstitutional rules that only allow free speech on about 1 percent of campus. Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle filed the lawsuit in federal court, alleging that when he tried gathering signatures for an anti-NSA spying petition on the Glendora campus in September 2013, he was told he could not do so outside the school’s “Free Speech Areas.” The lawsuit says the school’s free speech areas are “miniscule,” allegedly 1.37 percent of campus. Sinapi-Riddle is seeking damages, attorney’s fees and an […]

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    • Morning Links: The FIRE Aims to Torch Campus Speech Codes

      July 2, 2014

      By Radley Balko at The Washington Post Idea: Let’s assign the least experienced police officers to the neighborhoods with the most crime. What could go wrong? Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court’s most authoritarian justice. Federal judge throws out “cannibal cop conviction,” correctly rules thatthought crimes are not crimes. From the American Civil Liberties Union, a criminal defense attorney’s guide to StingRay cellphone monitors. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper talks about marijuana legalization. Lawrence, Ind., is the latest town to get a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle from the Pentagon. The thing weighs more than 48,000 pounds, or more than a pound of MRAP for each resident of Lawrence. The […]

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    • Philly-Based Group Sues 4 Universities for Free Speech

      July 2, 2014

      By Joel Mathis at Philadelphia Magazine A Philly-based advocacy group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has sued four universities across the country, saying those institutions are squelching their students’ First Amendment rights. The New York Times reports: “We’re cultivating an intellectually unhealthy attitude that it is not O.K., or even dangerous, to hear opinions that might make you uncomfortable,” said Greg Lukianoff, the president of the group filing the suits. “Universities have been much too shy in saying that there’s a great educational benefit from hearing dissent. You have a whole generation of people who think that they should be protected from […]

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    • The Good Fight: FIRE Suing Colleges and Universities over Speech Codes

      July 2, 2014

      By Michael Barone at Washington Examiner Once upon a time, American colleges and universities prided themselves on being a zone of free expression, open to ideas, in a society that often censored speech and pressured citizens into conformism. How things have changed! Now college and university campuses are among the least free parts of our society, with speech codes and censorship enforced by armies of administrators. Fortunately there is an organization fighting this state of affairs: FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE has represented students against administrators bent on censorship and has catalogued the restrictions on speech […]

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    • How Free Is Free Speech at Citrus College?

      July 2, 2014

      By Airtalk at KPCC Four colleges and universities in California, Ohio, Illinois and Iowa are being sued by students for what they claim is an infringement of their free speech rights. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education coordinated the filing of lawsuits to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Here in California, the student, Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, at Citrus College in Glendora, is saying his First Amendment rights are being violated by restricting his petitioning activities to a far too small “free speech” zone on campus. He claims he was having a discussion with another student about his […]

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    • American Universities Are Restricting an Important Right — And Students Are Fighting Back

      July 2, 2014

      By Jenna Kagel at News.Mic A free speech crackdown in modern day America: We expect to hear stories on repressing freedom of speech in countries like Russia, not in the U.S. But right here in the land of the free, American universities, the pillars of protest movements and open dialogue, are suppressing free speech. In response, the first-ever coordinated legal battle against U.S. universities was filed on Tuesday in four states as part of the “Stand Up for Speech” litigation project. Three-fifths of public colleges violate the First Amendment by imposing free speech policies on their campuses. American universities are banning […]

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    • Free Speech Suit Targets Ohio University’s Student Code; Stems from Double Entendre on Shirts

      July 2, 2014

      By The Associated Press at The Republic COLUMBUS, Ohio — A lawsuit challenging Ohio University’s student conduct code alleges administrators violated constitutional free speech rights by telling students not to wear T-shirts bearing a sexually suggestive double entendre, though the school denies that officials made such comments. The suit against the president and two other administrators was filed Tuesday in federal court in Columbus on behalf of student Isaac Smith. He is in the campus group Students Defending Students, which provides free help for students facing the school’s judicial process. Group members at an involvement fair in August wore shirts with a […]

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    • Group Launches Litigation Campaign to Challenge Campus Speech Codes

      July 2, 2014

      By Ronald K.L. Collins at Concurring Opinions July 1, 2014, National Press Club, Washington, D.C. Today, two powerhouses — one a free speech activist, the other a noted First Amendment lawyer — joined forces to challenge campus free speech codes that run afoul of the First Amendment. Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and Robert Corn-Revere, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT), announced that the group and the law firm would work together in a litigation campaign to change the free speech culture on many campuses across the nation. “Unconstitutional campus speech codes have been a national scandal for decades. But […]

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    • Suing Over Speech

      July 2, 2014

      By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed WASHINGTON – The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed four lawsuits Tuesday, alleging that three state universities and one community college maintain unconstitutional speech codes and have restricted the free speech of students and faculty members. The lawsuits – filed against Chicago State University, Citrus College, Iowa State University and Ohio University – are the start of a larger campaign that FIRE is calling the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. For every lawsuit FIRE wins, whether through a ruling or a settlement, the organization will sue another college. FIRE had previously, and with […]

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    • Colleges Are Slowly Taking Away Your First Amendment Rights

      July 2, 2014

      By Robert Shibley at The Washington Post September 17 last year was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our campuses. Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the Constitution outside of his college’s tiny “free speech zone.” Near Los Angeles, Citrus College student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle was threatened with removal from campus for the “offense” of collecting signatures for a petition against NSA domestic surveillance outside his college’s tiny free speech area. I mention September 17 because that was Constitution Day. These attempts to silence students are all in a day’s […]

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    • Group Files Suit to End Campus Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By Christine Rousselle at Townhall FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, filed four lawsuits today against universities with restrictive speech codes on campus. The universities named in the suits are Ohio University, Chicago State University, Iowa State University, and Citrus College (Calif.). “Unconstitutional campus speech codes have been a national scandal for decades. But today, 25 years after the first of the modern generation of speech codes was defeated in court, 58% of public campuses still hold onto shockingly illiberal codes,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “For 15 years, FIRE has fought for free speech on campus using public awareness as […]

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    • The FIRE Launches National Litigation Effort against Campus Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By  William A. Jacobson  at Legal Insurrection Almost daily we report here and at College Insurrection on the almost insane application of campus speech codes, frequently utilized disproportionately against non-politically correct (i.e. conservative) students and groups. Speech codes are closely related to other forms of campus oppression, like the stripping of due process rights for men accused under vague and overly-broad definitions of sexual assault and subjected to kangaroo courts. It all part of enforcing compliance with a dominant campus ideology (almost always progressive and radical feminist). Our friends at The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have led the fight against speech codes for […]

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    • Double-Entendre Ban Lands OU in Court

      July 1, 2014

      By Collin Binkley at The Columbus Dispatch An Ohio University student is suing the school president and two other top administrators who told his student group to stop wearing T-shirts printed with a sexually suggestive double-entendre printed on the back. Isaac Smith, a leader of the campus group Students Defending Students, filed the lawsuit today in federal court in Columbus, saying that his constitutional right to free speech had been violated. His group offers free help to students who face charges under the campus disciplinary system in Athens. The suit targets Roderick J. McDavis, the university president, Jenny Hall-Jones, the dean of students, […]

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    • First Amendment Defender FIRE Coordinates Four Free Speech Lawsuits against Public Universities

      July 1, 2014

      By Morgan Chalfant at Red Alert Politics In a continued effort to stand up for free speech on college campuses, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announced its participation in four lawsuits Tuesday to uphold the First Amendment rights of students and faculty in our nation. The organization announced these suits as part of its “Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project,” which was launched at a press conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff described the project as a “massive litigation effort” that the organization is taking up in partnership with a team of lawyers at Davis Wright […]

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    • ‘Massive litigation Campaign’ Launched Against University Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By Greg Piper at The College Fix Public colleges that retain speech codes were given notice Tuesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that they could be hit with costly First Amendment lawsuits. The group announced it had filed four lawsuits Tuesday against schools in the Midwest and California – on top of two filed in the past several months – at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Two of them involve banned T-shirts. FIRE is planning a “massive litigation campaign” under the Stand Up For Speech project, President Greg Lukianoff told the press conference. “We’ve been hesitant to […]

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    • In Major Announcement, FIRE Says It Will Sue Every College With a Speech Code Until Speech Codes Die Forever

      July 1, 2014

      By Robby Soave at Reason Online The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced a major litigation effort Tuesday against universities that maintain clearly illegal speech codes. With help from the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, FIRE is suing several universities that manifestly and unconstitutionally deprive their students of First Amendment rights. “Universities’ stubborn refusal to relinquish their speech codes must not be tolerated,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff during a press conference. For now, suits have been filed against Ohio University, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Citrus College in California. These universities have all trampled students’ free speech […]

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    • Iowa State Students Suing over Marijuana T-Shirts

      July 1, 2014

      By Grant Rodgers at  The Des Moines Register Two Iowa State University students are suing school officials after the university’s trademark licensing office forbade a pro-marijuana group from using the Cy logo on T-shirts. Juniors Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh have filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa asking a judge to rule that the school violated students’ First Amendment rights by banning the Cy logo on shirts made by the campus chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Gerlich and Furleigh are the current president and […]

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    • Lawsuits Aim at Campus Free-Speech Limits

      July 1, 2014

      By Mary Beth Marklein and Hoai-Tran Bui at USA Today Lawsuits filed Tuesday by an education foundation accuse three state universities and a community college of restricting free speech of students and faculty, the first public volley of a nationwide campaign to challenge campus policies it says are unconstitutional. The cases involve T-shirt designs for student organizations at Iowa State and Ohio universities, a faculty blog at Chicago State University and a student at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., who says he was told he would be kicked off campus unless he stayed within a designated area while seeking signatures for a […]

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    • Citrus College, Ohio State University Targeted by Free Speech Organization’s Lawsuit

      July 1, 2014

      Note: this article is a repost from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. It erroneously states that the Ohio State University is subject to a free speech lawsuit. The school is in fact Ohio University. By Jason Henry at San Gabriel Valley Tribune GLENDORA >> A national organization focused on free speech rights for students named Glendora-based Citrus College and three Midwest universities in four lawsuits filed on behalf of students who claimed their constitutional rights were violated. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) launched the lawsuits in collaboration with students and faculty at Citrus College, Ohio State, Iowa State and […]

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    • Nonprofit Launches New Effort against Campus Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By Kevin Daily at Washington Examiner The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on Tuesday announced a significant litigation effort to fight campus speech codes in colleges and universities across the country. FIRE, a non-profit foundation that advocates for academic freedom, filed four separate lawsuits against Ohio University, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Citrus College in California. The filings launched FIRE’s new Stand Up for Free Speech Litigation Project, a national effort aimed at eliminating campus speech codes. FIRE president Greg Lukianoff characterized speech policies on most college campuses as “unambiguously unconstitutional” and vowed to persevere. “The lawsuits will continue until campuses […]

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    • 4 Free Speech Lawsuits in One Morning: Stepping Up the Fight Against Campus Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post For seven years I have written for The Huffington Post about the problem of campus speech codes — absurd, often unconstitutional restrictions on the free speech of college students and professors. Today, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a big announcement about a major step in the decades-long war against campus speech codes. Here is my statement from our press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.: Twenty-five years ago we had reason to think that the “temporary insanity” of campus speech codes had come to an end. In 1989, the first […]

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    • ISU Sued for Prohibiting Logo on Pro-Marijuana Shirt

      July 1, 2014

      By Grant Rodgers at The Des Moines Register Two Iowa State University students are suing school officials after the university prohibited a pro-marijuana group from using the Cy logo on T-shirts that also featured cannabis leaves. At issue is whether ISU, a government entity, can choose which groups are allowed to use the logo based on political or social beliefs in an effort to protect its brand. It’s a lawsuit that will balance free speech rights against trademark law, said Christopher Proskey, a Des Moines patent and intellectual property attorney. “Somebody else is using your mark in a way that […]

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    • Pro-Marijuana Student Advocates Sue ISU Administrators

      July 1, 2014

      By Vanessa Miller at The Gazzette As part of a national free speech litigation project, two Iowa State students on Tuesday filed a lawsuit accusing university administrators of violating the rights of a student group pushing for the legalization of marijuana. The lawsuit — filed by the president and vice president of ISU’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML — is one of four new lawsuits included in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s nationwide effort to “eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits.” The “Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project” […]

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    • Trouble over T-Shirts Just Landed 2 State Universities in Court

      July 1, 2014

      By Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post Two Midwest state universities are being hauled into court over what campus groups can and can’t say on their T-shirts. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said Tuesday that it has filed lawsuits against Iowa State University, for denying marijuana reform advocates the use of the school mascot on their T-shirts, and against Ohio University, for directing a student government-related group not to wear T-shirts with a double entendre. Students from the two schools joined FIRE, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., announcing the suits. FIRE also said it was suing […]

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    • Education Group Announces All-out War on Campus Speech Codes

      July 1, 2014

      By Blake Neff at The Daily Caller The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group advocating free speech on college campuses, announced Tuesday that it is launching a major legal offensive against universities it says are enforcing illegal speech codes. “Universities’ stubborn refusal to relinquish their speech codes must not be tolerated,” FIRE president Greg Lukianoff said at press conference held by the organization. Currently, the group will back four lawsuits against four different schools for alleged violations of speech rights. The lawsuits involve a diverse array of campus incidents. For lawsuits against Iowa State University and Ohio University, […]

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    • Student Sues Citrus College District over Free Speech Restrictions

      July 1, 2014

      By Teresa Watanabe at Los Angeles Times Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle is a passionate libertarian who was thrilled to attend Citrus College in Glendora for what he imagined would be a quintessential college experience of unbridled debate. But after he arrived last year, he learned that the college required all petitioning, pamphleting and other expressive activities be confined to a small “free speech area” on the campus quad. And when he launched his first petition effort last fall, he said — against spying by the National Security Agency — an administrator told him he was outside the designated zone and warned that he […]

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    • Students Challenge Free-Speech Rules on College Campuses

      July 1, 2014

      By Teresa Watanabe at Los Angeles Times College students in California and three other states filed lawsuits against their campuses Tuesday in what is thought to be the first-ever coordinated legal attack on free speech restrictions in higher education. Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, a 20-year-old studying computer science, alleged that Citrus College in Glendora had violated his 1st Amendment rights by restricting his petitioning activities to a small “free-speech zone” in the campus quad. According to Sinapi-Riddle’s complaint, a campus official stopped him last fall from talking to another student about his campaign against spying by the National Security Agency, saying he had […]

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    • Advocacy Group Sues 4 Universities in Challenge to Policies It Says Curb Free Speech

      July 1, 2014

      By Jennifer Medina at The New York Times LOS ANGELES — Arguing that free speech is being stifled at college campuses across the country, a Philadelphia-based advocacy group on Tuesday filed lawsuits against four universities, seeking to force the schools to revise policies that the group says restrict some forms of speech. The group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, singled out four schools that it says squelched free speech in noteworthy ways — by banning certain T-shirts on campus, for example, or by trying to shut down a faculty blog that criticized the administration — and said it planned to […]

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    • Cal Poly Admin Says Suit Could Have Been Avoided If Student Had Only Met with Her First—But He Did

      August 17, 2015

      In April, a spokeswoman from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona claimed that if Nicolas Tomas, who challenged the university’s unconstitutional free speech zone in court, had just come to the administration, the situation could have been remedied without a lawsuit. As I pointed out here on The Torch in April, Nick did try to get administrators to address his concerns about free expression on campus—only to be given copies of outdated policies and told that he would have abide by their restrictive terms. Unable to get any satisfaction through bureaucratic channels, Nick turned to FIRE for help and became the […]

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    • Victory: Animal Rights Activist Restores Free Speech Rights of Cal Poly Pomona Students with Lawsuit Settlement

      July 23, 2015

      LOS ANGELES, July 23, 2015—California State Polytechnic University, Pomona agreed today to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed by Nicolas Tomas, a student and animal rights activist. Tomas’ victory restores not only his First Amendment rights but those of the nearly 24,000 students who attend Cal Poly Pomona. The lawsuit is the sixth consecutive victory for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) unprecedented and undefeated Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. With assistance from FIRE, Tomas filed suit against Cal Poly Pomona in March after campus police and an administrator prevented him from handing out flyers about animal abuse […]

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    • Quick Thoughts on Stand Up For Speech’s Successful First Year

      July 1, 2015

      To celebrate a very successful first year for FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, I’ve written a few quick thoughts for The Huffington Post about why the effort is necessary and how colleges can avoid being named in our next lawsuit. Here’s to even more victories in Stand Up For Speech’s second year!

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    • In First Year, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Restores the Rights of 150,000 Students (and Counting)

      July 1, 2015

      WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015—One year ago today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) publicly launched its Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project by sponsoring four lawsuits against colleges and universities maintaining unconstitutional speech policies. At the end of its first year, Stand Up For Speech has sponsored an additional four lawsuits, achieved five victories, secured over $250,000 in damages and attorney fees, and restored free speech rights to over 150,000 students at colleges across the country. “The students and faculty members who have had the courage to vindicate their First Amendment rights in court have made a tremendous […]

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    • Another Student Stopped From Handing Out Constitutions: Q&A With Anthony Vizzone

      June 17, 2015

      Anthony Vizzone just wanted to hand out copies of the Constitution and recruit students for his student organization—the University of Hawaii at Hilo Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). But when he crossed the “imaginary boundaries” of his university’s free speech zone, administrators were there to stop him. Anthony wasn’t content to let his expression be quarantined into a tiny “free speech zone” (or perhaps more accurately, a “free speech puddle”). He and his cohorts in UH Hilo’s YAL chapter worked with FIRE to stand up for their speech rights by filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the university. In December […]

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    • WMU Has Now Posted Its New Policies Where Students Can Find Them

      June 16, 2015

      Over the past few days, FIRE published several blog posts, sent a barrage of tweets and posted a clock webpage (www.wmuhidestheball.org) pointing out that Western Michigan University had hidden the policies it had promised to enact as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed under FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.   WMU apparently got the message. In tweets sent to several FIRE staffers, WMU explained that the policies it agreed to in the April 30 settlement agreement and promised to “enact”—the word in the agreement—are now available on WMU’s A-Z Directory. The tweet provided the following link: http://wmich.edu/policies/events. Sure […]

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    • FIRE’s Catherine Sevcenko Explains Blinn Lawsuit in ‘San Antonio Express-News’

      June 16, 2015

      In an op-ed in Sunday’s San Antonio Express-News, FIRE Associate Director of Litigation Catherine Sevcenko describes why the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project’s latest plaintiff, Nicole Sanders, decided to sue her school, Blinn College in Texas. Catherine also updates some of the other cases in the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, which will mark its first anniversary on July 1. As Torch readers may recall, Sanders filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Blinn after college administrators, accompanied by three armed police officers, told Sanders she needed “special permission” to display signs and recruit students for the Young Americans […]

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    • WMU Sacrifices Students’ First Amendment Rights to Keep Settlement Agreement Secret

      June 12, 2015

      On April 30, 2015, Western Michigan University (WMU) and the Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC) settled a lawsuit over WMU’s use of an unwritten security policy to keep rapper and social activist Boots Riley off of campus, marking the fifth victory in FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. That should have been the end of the story. Sadly, it isn’t. In implementing the settlement, WMU has shown that it will continue to trample student rights to hide the fact that a student organization successfully forced it to change its unconstitutional policies. The deception began almost immediately after the settlement, when […]

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    • Student Sues Texas College After Being Told Gun Rights Sign Needs ‘Special Permission’

      May 20, 2015

      HOUSTON, May 20, 2015—Blinn College student Nicole Sanders filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the public institution near Houston today after being told by an administrator last February that she would need “special permission” to display a gun rights sign and collect signatures for her student group on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) assisted Sanders in filing the federal lawsuit, the tenth lawsuit filed as part of FIRE’s national Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. The lawsuit challenges Blinn’s policy of restricting speech to a tiny “Free Speech Area,” as well as the process that led the […]

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    • ‘Los Angeles Times’ Shares Remarks from Student, Admins, Lawyers at the Heart of Cal Poly Pomona Lawsuit

      May 13, 2015

      A week ago, FIRE announced that California State Polytechnic University, Pomona was suspending its unconstitutional restrictions on speech during settlement talks for student Nicolas Tomas’s lawsuit against the school, brought as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Tomas filed the suit in federal court after a campus police officer stopped him from handing out animal rights flyers outdoors on campus. Today, reporting by the Los Angeles Times reveals—yet again—the clash between college administrators’ desire to avoid intellectual conflict and the Constitution’s requirement that they allow the free exchange of ideas. As the Times explains, public colleges like […]

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    • Dixie State U., Cal Poly Pomona Suspend Restrictive Speech Codes in Wake of FIRE-Led Lawsuits

      May 7, 2015

      PHILADELPHIA, May 7, 2015—Dixie State University in Utah and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona have both agreed this week to suspend numerous policies that substantially restrict students’ free speech rights on campus. The policy suspensions result from lawsuits filed this year as part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, an unprecedented and undefeated national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes from the nation’s public colleges and universities. “FIRE has been warning colleges for years that the Constitution is clear—there is no place for speech codes on a public college campus,” said […]

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    • Cal Poly Pomona Suspends Unconstitutional Policies in Response to Animal Rights Activist’s Lawsuit

      May 6, 2015

      LOS ANGELES, May 6, 2015—In response to a First Amendment lawsuit filed by student and animal rights activist Nicolas Tomas, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona has promised not to enforce the university policies at issue while the case is being litigated. The lawsuit, which was filed in March as part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, targeted Cal Poly Pomona speech codes that restrict where, when, and how students can exercise their free speech rights. “Cal Poly Pomona required students to wear a free speech badge in a free speech zone […]

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    • WMU Can’t Spin Away the Facts: It Has to Pay Damages and Reform Its Speech Codes

      May 6, 2015

      Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project plaintiff Nola Wiersma has one regret about settling her First Amendment lawsuit with Western Michigan University: She didn’t get an apology from the university for violating her constitutional rights. We generally encourage plaintiffs to let university defendants save face and savor the fact that they have restored free expression to their campuses, vindicating their rights and those of their fellow students. In short, we advise being gracious in victory. In the case of WMU, however, that is easier said than done. If the university didn’t owe Nola and her co-plaintiffs Kestrel Peace (named as […]

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    • After Lawsuit’s Filing, Dixie State Suspends Restrictive Speech Codes, Plans to Revise Policies

      May 5, 2015

      ST. GEORGE, Utah, May 5, 2015—Dixie State University has announced that it will suspend the unconstitutional speech codes that three students challenged in a First Amendment lawsuit filed in March. The lawsuit, which is supported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), targeted Dixie State’s unconstitutional flyer approval process, posting policies, “free speech zone,” and club event policies—all of which are now suspended. In addition to suspending the speech codes, Dixie State President Richard B. Williams announced in an email yesterday to the campus community that the university will permanently revise its policies. In his email, President Williams […]

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    • Western Michigan U. Settles Boots Riley ‘Speech Tax’ Lawsuit, ‘Stand Up For Speech’ Scores Fifth Victory

      May 4, 2015

      GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 4, 2015—Western Michigan University (WMU) has agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit that alleged the university taxed controversial speech by making student organizers pay for extra security to host rapper and social activist Boots Riley on campus. The lawsuit, filed in October 2014 as part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, also challenged WMU’s posting and space reservation policies. Following settlement talks overseen by a federal magistrate judge, WMU has agreed to revise its policies to comply with the First Amendment and pay $35,000 in damages […]

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    • Chicago State Plaintiffs Show Court What Chilled Speech Looks Like

      April 24, 2015

      “Chilling effect” on speech is the most common metaphor in First Amendment law. The government may not punish people for expressing unpopular views, nor may it create a climate of fear (i.e., a chill) that induces citizens to censor themselves to stay out of trouble. Not surprisingly, chill is notoriously difficult to quantify. Courts have spilled many gallons of ink explaining why one government action would cause someone to remain silent, thus violating the First Amendment, whereas another doesn’t cross the line. As regular Torch readers know, one of FIRE’s ongoing Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project lawsuits challenges the […]

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    • Two Reasons Why Cal Poly Pomona Lawsuit Is Different

      April 10, 2015

      Last week, student Nicolas Tomas sued California State Polytechnic University, Pomona for violating his First Amendment rights by limiting his efforts to campaign for animal rights to a tiny “free speech zone” that makes up about 0.01 percent of the campus. Tomas’s suit, the ninth in FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project (SUFS), was the fifth to challenge the constitutionality of a free speech zone—a particularly obvious type of violation of the First Amendment that FIRE has challenged both in and out of court for years. This case has produced two interesting variations, however. First, students at Cal Poly […]

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    • Cal Poly Pomona Plaintiff Speaks Out on Why He Decided to Sue His School

      April 8, 2015

      In a recent op-ed for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s student newspaper, The Poly Post, student-plaintiff Nicolas Tomas reviews the events that led him to sue his university and his goals for the lawsuit. As Torch readers may recall, on March 31, 2015, Tomas filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Cal Poly Pomona with FIRE’s help. It is the ninth lawsuit filed as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Tomas is deeply passionate about veganism and animal rights issues. He tried to share this passion for animal rights with his peers at Cal Poly Pomona, but he […]

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    • Student Animal Rights Activist Sues Cal Poly Pomona for Requiring Permit to Speak

      March 31, 2015

      LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2015—College student Nicolas Tomas filed a First Amendment lawsuit today against California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with assistance from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The lawsuit targets university policies that restrict where, when, and how students can exercise their free speech rights. The lawsuit alleges that on February 4, a Cal Poly Pomona police officer stopped Tomas from handing out flyers on a campus sidewalk. The officer directed Tomas to the Office of Student Life to obtain a “permit,” namely a badge that he would have to wear while distributing any written material. […]

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    • Supreme Court Considers Texas License Plate Case That Could Threaten Free Speech on Campus

      March 24, 2015

      This op-ed was published on Monday, March 23, 2015 in the Daily Journal. In Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, due for oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, the respondent will argue that a private organization should be able to have a specialty license plate with the Confederate battle flag on it. On the other side, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board contends that license plates constitute government speech because the state government controls their production. The state, therefore, may choose not to approve a Confederate flag, which many Texans find offensive, as part of a specialty […]

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    • Ex-Chicago State Admin: I Was Pressured to File False Harassment Claim Against Faculty Critic

      March 20, 2015

      CHICAGO, March 20, 2015—A former high-level administrator at Chicago State University alleged in a statement filed yesterday in federal court that Chicago State President Wayne Watson pressured her to file a false sexual harassment complaint against Professor Philip Beverly, an outspoken faculty critic of Watson’s administration. According to the declaration of former Chicago State Vice President for Enrollment Management LaShondra Peebles, Watson was determined to silence Beverly by shutting down the blog, CSU Faculty Voice, which Beverly had founded. Contributors routinely posted documents that supported their allegations of mismanagement by the administration. After pretextual accusations of trademark infringement failed to intimidate […]

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    • Media Report on Latest Stand Up For Speech Case: Censorship at Dixie State

      March 18, 2015

      Earlier in the month, students William Jergins, Joey Gillespie, and Forrest Gee filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Utah’s Dixie State University, the eighth and most recent suit filed as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. We at FIRE are no strangers to the argument that campuses must be a “safe space” free from emotional and ideological discomfort. Dixie State kicks it up a notch by ensuring that sitting presidents and long-dead revolutionaries are also protected from the peril of college students with sharpened viewpoints—in this case, flyers negatively portraying Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush […]

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    • Students Sue Dixie State U. Over ‘Free Speech Zone,’ Censorship of Bush, Obama, Che Flyers

      March 4, 2015

      ST. GEORGE, Utah, March 4, 2015—Students filed a First Amendment lawsuit today against Utah’s Dixie State University, with assistance from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The lawsuit challenges numerous unconstitutional restrictions that Dixie State, a repeat offender against freedom of speech, has placed on the First Amendment rights of Dixie State students. The lawsuit alleges that Dixie State refused to approve promotional flyers produced by the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) student group that featured images negatively portraying Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Dixie State administrators told student plaintiff William […]

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    • Citing ‘Stand Up For Speech’ Cases, FIRE Urges Supreme Court Not to Expand ‘Government Speech’ Doctrine

      February 18, 2015

      Yesterday, FIRE filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., which is currently before the Supreme Court. An amicus brief allows organizations that are not directly involved in the litigation to share their expertise with the justices and make them aware of potential unintended consequences their decision might have. The case asks whether the state of Texas can deny the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ application for a specialty license plate featuring the Confederate flag when the state allows hundreds of other organizations to design license plates promoting their organizations […]

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    • Stand Up For Speech Plaintiff: ‘Code of Conduct Change Could Not Have Happened Without Lawsuit’

      February 6, 2015

      Following a fourth victory for FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Monday, news outlets across the country reported on Ohio University’s (OU’s) agreement to revise its speech codes in order to comply with the First Amendment. Among them, an editorial from Ohio University’s student newspaper, The Post, stood out—and warranted a response from student-plaintiff Isaac Smith. The Post editorial supports the outcome of Smith’s case against the university: policies that protect student speech. It argues, however, that bringing a federal lawsuit wasn’t really necessary: This lawsuit has been essentially $32,000 worth of, “let’s sit and talk.” And while we’re […]

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    • FIRE’s Victory at Ohio U. Makes Headlines

      February 4, 2015

      On Monday, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project tallied yet another victory for free speech on college campuses. Ohio University agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed by student Isaac Smith last July after administrators censored his student group’s T-shirts. As Torch readers may recall, Smith’s organization, Students Defending Students, which helps students accused of disciplinary infractions navigate the system for free, wore T-shirts with the group’s longtime slogan, “We get you off for free,” to a campus involvement fair. There, a school official told the students to stop wearing their T-shirts, as they were “inappropriate.” This incident […]

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    • Students, FIRE Go Four-for-Four as Ohio U. Settles Speech Code Lawsuit

      February 2, 2015

      ATHENS, Ohio, February 2, 2015—In a settlement signed today, Ohio University (OU) agreed to revise several policies that restricted free speech on campus rather than fight a student-led First Amendment lawsuit in court. This marks the fourth victory in a row for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Student Isaac Smith sued OU in July 2014 after OU administrators ordered Smith and other members of the Students Defending Students (SDS) campus organization to stop wearing T-shirts with the three-decade-old slogan, “We get you off for free.” SDS provides free assistance to students accused […]

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    • FIRE’s Azhar Majeed on ‘What Universities Can Do for Free Speech in 2015’

      January 14, 2015

      In 2014, many colleges and universities took significant steps toward protecting students’ and professors’ freedom of speech. FIRE was happy to newly bestow our highest, “green light” rating upon the University of Florida, Georgetown College in Kentucky, and Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and we saw several other colleges revise their worst speech codes in order to better protect open debate on campus. Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, takes to Minding the Campus this week to urge colleges and universities across the nation to follow these institutions’ lead. FIRE is always willing to help schools […]

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    • Highlights and Lowlights for Campus Rights in 2014

      December 29, 2014

      PHILADELPHIA, December 29, 2014—For reasons both good and ill, 2014 will enter the history books as a major year for free speech, due process, and individual rights at our nation’s colleges and universities. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) won more meaningful victories for student and faculty rights than ever before and even published a book, Freedom From Speech, addressing new attacks on campus freedom and their causes. But opponents of those rights also found powerful new allies in the federal Departments of Education and Justice, driven by the explosive issue of sexual assault on campus. “There’s no […]

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    • Help FIRE Fight Back: Support Our Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

      December 17, 2014

      For 15 years, FIRE has been fighting to overturn unconstitutional speech codes on campus. This year, we dramatically expanded that fight and launched a new program aimed at systematically challenging the nation’s worst speech codes in court. Not even a year into its existence, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project has already had a significant impact. In addition to all these successes, our campaign has also motivated broader reform and sparked new discussions about campus expression. Since July, the Stand Up For Speech project has worked both in and out of court to secure policy revisions affecting nearly 220,000 […]

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    • Media Spreads the Word About Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit Victories

      December 10, 2014

      Last week, in the space of 24 hours, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project scored two victories in the fight for First Amendment rights on campus. On December 2, 2014, the University of Hawaii (UH) agreed to a settlement with two students, Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, who had been stopped from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution and ordered to keep their protest against the National Security Agency inside the Hilo campus’ free speech zone. The next day, California’s Citrus College settled with student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, who sued the school with FIRE’s help after he was forbidden […]

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    • Constitution Day 2014: What a Difference a Year Makes

      September 18, 2014

      September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny “free speech area,” the only place that a student was allowed to hand out literature. On the same day, an administrator at Citrus College (also in California) told student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle that he could be removed from campus for seeking another student’s signature on a […]

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    • On Constitution Day, FIRE Mails First Amendment Warning to More Than 300 Colleges

      September 17, 2014

      PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2014—In a national certified mailing sent today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns the leaders of more than 300 of our nation’s largest and most prestigious public colleges and universities that they risk First Amendment lawsuits by continuing to maintain speech codes that violate student and faculty rights. The letters are being mailed from the main post office near Independence Hall in Philadelphia today to mark the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. “58 percent of our nation’s public colleges and universities restrict student and faculty speech with blatantly unconstitutional policies, […]

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    • Azhar Majeed’s Simple Message to College Administrators: End Censorship, or Else

      September 3, 2014

      My colleague Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, published an op-ed in The Huffington Post yesterday with an important back-to-school message for college administrators: Eliminate speech codes, or get ready to head to court.

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    • Students Return to Campus Censorship, But Fight Back with FIRE

      September 2, 2014

      PHILADELPHIA, September 2, 2014—As millions of college students arrive on campus this fall—many for the first time—few of them realize that nearly 59 percent of our nation’s colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. Too many students will realize that the rights they took for granted as Americans have been denied to them only after they face charges and disciplinary action for speaking their minds. But this year, campus censorship faces a new deterrent: FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, which aims to finally bring an end to unconstitutional and illiberal speech […]

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    • Modesto Junior College’s Lawyer: Colleges, Dump Your Speech Codes

      August 22, 2014

      Every advocate dreams of winning over an opponent, but it rarely happens. It’s just possible, though, that FIRE might have done so. David Urban of the law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has written a thorough and insightful post on his firm’s blog advising colleges and universities to review their speech-related policies to insulate themselves from the threat of litigation—like FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.

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    • Humboldt Professor Warns of Censorship on Campus

      August 1, 2014

      Marcy Burstiner, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Humboldt State University (HSU) in California, has a message for HSU administrators: Fix unconstitutional speech codes, or be prepared for a fight.

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    • Recap: The 2014 FIRE Student Network Conference

      July 31, 2014

      This past Sunday, FIRE wrapped up its sixth annual FIRE Student Network Conference. This three-day conference was the largest in FIRE’s history and arguably its most important conference to date due to the discussion surrounding FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech initiative.

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    • A Big Year for Campus Censorship

      July 30, 2014

      Yesterday, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Senior Vice President Robert Shibley kicked off Minding the Campus’s series on “the year that was” in higher education by writing about some of the past academic year’s biggest trends in censorship.

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    • Virginia Postrel on Misguided Support for Free Speech Zones

      July 14, 2014

      FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project has received a lot of attention since it was launched on July 1—much of it from free speech advocates who recognize the need for court cases aimed at striking down campus speech codes. Today, Bloomberg View columnist and FIRE Board of Directors member Virginia Postrel writes to address remarks from some skeptics of the project, including those who advocate for free speech zones.

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    • FIRE’s Sevcenko on Iowa State Lawsuit for ‘Huffington Post’

      July 10, 2014

      FIRE Litigation Coordinator Catherine Sevcenko takes to The Huffington Post today to explain why Iowa State University students Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh are standing up for speech at their institution by filing a First Amendment lawsuit.

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    • ‘Las Vegas Review-Journal’ Calls on UNLV to Abandon Speech Codes

      July 9, 2014

      FIRE is pleased that so many media outlets have covered the project’s launch. But in addition to the news coverage reporting on the project, I am thrilled that the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently ran an editorial urging my alma mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), to abandon its speech codes. (The Review-Journal actually ran another editorial last month urging UNLV to hire as its new president “a strong free-speech advocate to lead the university.”)

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    • New FIRE Video: Don’t Shut Up—Stand Up For Speech!

      July 8, 2014

      Today, we’re proud to release FIRE’s newest video, titled “Don’t Shut Up—Stand Up For Speech!,” to further introduce some of the principled and impressive students who fought back when their schools stifled their expression.

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    • Gun Rights Activist’s Speech Draws Unconstitutional Security Fees at Boise State

      July 7, 2014

      BOISE, Idaho, July 7, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has intervened at Boise State University after the college charged a student group hundreds of dollars in unconstitutional security fees for hosting a speech by a gun rights activist. Boise State forced the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) to pay the fees or else face the last-minute cancellation of an event featuring Dick Heller, the named plaintiff in a well-known 2008 Supreme Court case regarding the possession of firearms. “You could hardly ask for a clearer violation of a student group’s First Amendment rights,” said Peter […]

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    • FIRE’s Azhar Majeed in ‘Chicago Tribune’ on Chicago State Lawsuit

      July 7, 2014

      Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, takes Chicago State University (CSU) to task in the Chicago Tribune today. As part of FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, two CSU professors have filed suit against the university for its unconstitutional speech codes and attempts to shut down CSU Faculty Voice, a blog to which the professors contribute.

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    • This Fourth of July, Students and Faculty Are ‘Retracing the Steps to Free Speech’

      July 4, 2014

      We learn in grade school that freedom of speech is the hallmark of a free nation and the cornerstone of democracy. Yet the urge to censor seems almost irresistible, no matter who wields authority. As FIRE followers know all too well, public colleges and universities routinely restrict and punish constitutionally protected expression. In academia, where First Amendment freedoms are most precious, they are at serious risk. Nearly 60 percent of the 427 institutions that FIRE has surveyed maintain policies that clearly and substantially infringe upon freedom of speech.

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    • FIRE’s Shibley in ‘Washington Post’: Lawsuits ‘About to Become a Lot More Common’

      July 2, 2014

      Following yesterday’s launch of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley takes to The Washington Post today to explain why litigation is necessary:

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    • Help Students and Professors Stand Up For Speech! Support FIRE Today

      July 2, 2014

      This week was an exciting one for FIRE, as we took a huge step forward in the fight for free expression on campus with the launch of our Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. While we’re proud to usher in this new era in FIRE’s history, we’re even prouder to do so alongside the brave students and faculty members who have taken this opportunity to stand up for speech. We hope you will consider supporting these plaintiffs as they fight back against campus censorship.

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    • Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Makes Media Splash

      July 2, 2014

      Yesterday, FIRE launched our new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Within minutes of the announcement, major media outlets were spreading the word, and over the past 24 hours, the nation’s top newspapers have reported on this big step in the fight for free speech on campus. Here is some of yesterday’s and today’s news coverage of Stand Up For Speech and the four lawsuits FIRE brought yesterday with the help of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine:

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    • FIRE Brings Four Free Speech Lawsuits in One Day

      July 1, 2014

      WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014—This morning, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) coordinated the filing of lawsuits against Ohio University, Chicago State University, Iowa State University, and Citrus College (Calif.). The filings launch FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. The project and lawsuits were announced today at a press conference at the National Press Club. FIRE has retained preeminent First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere of the national law firm Davis Wright Tremaine as counsel for students and faculty members participating in the Stand Up […]

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    • Watch Now: FIRE’s Big Announcement Is Streaming Live!

      July 1, 2014

      The wait is over: Today, FIRE is launching a first-of-its-kind project that will help students and faculty across the nation defend their free speech rights in a major and lasting way. Watch FIRE President Greg Lukianoff make the announcement live below, and find out what you can do to stand up for speech on campus!

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    • A Major, Exciting FIRE Announcement Is On Its Way

      July 1, 2014

      Tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern time, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and others will be at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to make a major announcement that we’re confident Torch readers won’t want to miss. If you head to thefire.org a few minutes before 1 p.m., you’ll be presented with the opportunity to livestream the press conference to your browser.

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    • Western Michigan University Bans Rapper, Burdens Free Expression

      April 18, 2014

      Have you ever been a participant in, or vocally supportive of, the “Occupy” movement? Have you ever spoken in favor of (or against) a controversial cause or idea? Is there something about you that is susceptible to being unreasonably interpreted as even mildly suspicious? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, good luck speaking your mind on Western Michigan University’s (WMU’s) campus—at least without the watchful gaze of law enforcement constantly surveilling you and your listeners.

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