Rogers State University: First Amendment Violations

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Rogers State University

The Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) faced a series of administrative restrictions while seeking to obtain status as a recognized student organization. OARS was told that it would not be allowed to circulate flyers on campus if the information on them was "not correct," a violation of the First Amendment and a misinterpretation of RSU’s own policies, and that all such flyers must receive prior RSU administrative approval. OARS also was told that RSU’s public relations department wanted to be in charge of all websites and social media applications run by student organizations. OARS finally received official recognition after FIRE wrote a letter to RSU President Larry Rice, but RSU did not signal whether it planned to correct the mistakes made by the lower-level administrator.

  • Student whistleblower keeps testing limits

    November 13, 2010

    CLAREMORE – The Rogers State University student who took her first amendment dispute to a national student rights group says RSU students are largely unaware of their rights or afraid to assert them to administrators. Because of views like that, Renee Morse-Heenan says she can draw up a sizable list of students she calls “Renee haters.” She admits it. She’s abrasive. She gets in the way. She’s opinionated. And she’s not done yet. The student who turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education over complaints about former student activities coordinator Lynn Brown now coordinates RSU’s first student rights […]

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  • RSU official gone after student rights controversy

    October 24, 2010

    CLAREMORE – A Rogers State University administrator has lost her job following a student rights dispute that grabbed the attention of a national advocacy group. The New York-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education accused Student Activities Coordinator Lynn Brown of violating students’ speech rights consistently after she was hired in June. A university official confirmed Friday that Brown left RSU Tuesday. “All I can say is that she no longer works for the university,” said Tobie Titsworth, vice president for student affairs. “We can’t comment on personnel matters.” He would not say whether Brown was forced to leave or […]

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  • ‘Claremore Daily Progress’ Highlights Advances for Student Rights at Rogers State, But Free Speech Still in Danger in Oklahoma

    November 23, 2010

    This month, Zack Stoycoff from the Claremore Daily Progress (Oklahoma) has devoted three articles to coverage of FIRE and our recent case at local Rogers State University (RSU). Torch readers might remember RSU stduent Renee Morse-Heenan’s struggle to earn recognition for her group, the Organization for Advancing the Rights of Students (OARS), at RSU this fall. These articles are a welcome update on Renee’s success and the considerable gains for student rights at RSU, but Stoycoff’s reports make clear that Oklahoma schools still need FIRE. First, the good news: OARS is now operating successfully at RSU, and administrators say that […]

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  • Rogers State Official Out after FIRE Intervenes in Controversy

    October 26, 2010

    Both The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and the Claremore Daily Progress (Okla.) are reporting that Rogers State University (RSU) Coordinator of Student Activities Lynn Brown is no longer employed at Rogers State. The articles connect the end of her employment with the fact that FIRE recently intervened in a students’ rights controversy at RSU in which Brown played a prominent part. The article in the Claremore Daily Progress, RSU’s hometown paper, begins this way: CLAREMORE – A Rogers State University administrator has lost her job following a student rights dispute that grabbed the attention of a national advocacy group. The New York-based […]

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  • Student Rights Group Recognized at Rogers State University, but Deficiencies in Recognition Process Remain

    October 12, 2010

    After a number of First Amendment hiccups, and an intervention from FIRE, the Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) is now recognized at Oklahoma’s Rogers State University (RSU). Uncertainty remains, however, about the fairness of the processes by which student groups obtain recognition at RSU. FIRE was first contacted by OARS President Renee Morse-Heenan in August as OARS was confronted with a series of constitutionally questionable requirements for becoming a registered student organization recognized by RSU. Hoping to expedite the process so that OARS could begin recruiting members, Morse-Heenan asked RSU what further steps lay in the path […]

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