Northern Michigan University: Student Punished for Emailing the Student Body a Survey Seeking Anonymous Feedback on University Mental Health Services

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Northern Michigan University

On April 6, 2022, after a recent Northern Michigan University student’s suicide, NMU student Dominick Dotson asked university leaders if he could send a campus-wide survey requesting anonymous feedback about campus mental health services. After NMU rebuffed his request, Dotson found a way to send the survey himself. On April 7, NMU temporarily suspended Dotson and, on April 14, charged him with violating university policies on IT use and research review. FIRE wrote NMU April 28 calling for it to rescind the suspension and all disciplinary charges against Dotson, explaining that his survey did not violate any university policies and constitutes expression addressing a public issue, and as such is protected by the First Amendment.