Liberty University: Tradition of Student Press Censorship

Category: Cases, Free Speech

FIRE wrote to Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. on August 24, 2018, regarding media reports detailing years of censorship of student newspaper the Liberty Champion. While Liberty is a private university, and not bound by the First Amendment, FIRE asked Falwell Jr. to end his university’s censorship of the Liberty Champion and revise its speech-restrictive policies in light of his previous public statement that “Liberty University promotes the free expression of ideas unlike many major universities where political correctness prevents conservative students from speaking out.”

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  • FIRE calls on Liberty University’s leadership to end censorship of student press

    August 24, 2018

    Nearly two years ago, FIRE cautioned that “[t]he student press at Liberty University is not a free press.” A new report reveals that Liberty’s limits on student expression have not wavered. Today, FIRE calls on the university to reconsider its treatments of students’ expressive rights in light of president Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s claim that the university “promotes the free expression of ideas.” Last week, WORLD MAGAZINE published an article covering nearly two years of censorship of student newspaper the Liberty Champion. Though Liberty itself describes the newspaper as “student-run,” WORLD documents the involvement of Falwell, Jr. and other university officials […]

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  • Liberty University’s Values and Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Pro-Free Speech Statements Don’t Add Up

    October 19, 2016

    The student press at Liberty University is not a free press. That much was made clear yesterday when news broke that Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., who has endorsed Donald Trump’s candidacy, censored an article in which student journalist Joel Schmieg criticized Trump over recently leaked tapes. According to Schmieg: “[My editors] read the [president’s] email to me. He said, basically, the gist was that there were two articles this week about Trump,” Schmieg told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “One was a letter to the editor from a Liberty alum, and they didn’t want two things running about […]

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