In May of 2017, North Carolina’s Johnson C. Smith University accused students of participating in a widespread “criminal conspiracy” involving allegedly fraudulent transactions on their meal plans — and ordered the students not to speak to anyone about it. This instruction chilled their right to speak out publicly, or privately to an attorney, about a matter of public controversy. FIRE wrote to the university’s president on May 23, 2017, calling on the institution to retract its breathtaking gag order.
Johnson C. Smith University to students accused of criminal conspiracy: You have the obligation to remain silent
May 23, 2017
At North Carolina’s Johnson C. Smith University, students accused of a widespread “criminal conspiracy” are being told that they cannot speak to anyone about it, chilling their right to speak out publicly — or privately to an attorney — about a matter of public controversy. At issue are more than 300 transactions, potentially involving dozens of students, in which money was added to students’ meal cards, rather than deducted. An anonymous student concerned by the charges contacted a local television station to share the email they received: You are under investigation regarding allegations that you participated in a criminal conspiracy […]» Read More