Stetson University: Viewpoint-Based Censorship of Student Magazine

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Stetson University

Stetson University found itself involved in a FIRE case in November of 2005, when it censored a student publication based on the view-points expressed. While the case remains unresolved, FIRE press releases and the media expressed their concerns with what then-FIRE President David French referred to as, “Orwellian policies.” The censorship of the campus publication, Common Sense, surrounded a joke that Jay Leno made on his television program The Tonight Show.

  • Florida university censors magazine for Jay Leno joke

    January 25, 2006

    FLORIDA — Jay Leno may be a popular late night comedian and talk show host, but school officials at Stetson University do not find his jokes very funny — at least in print. University officials banned a satirical student publication, Common Sense, from being distributed in October because the magazine quoted a joke Jay Leno made about Mexicans, and for running a picture of a dorm-room window that displayed a rainbow flag with a question mark superimposed over it, said the magazine’s Editor in Chief Frank Ganz. But in November, the university bowed to public pressure and publicity and allowed […]

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  • Stetson shuts its mind to press freedom

    December 23, 2005

    Here is the quote I was greeted with after logging onto Stetson University’s Web site earlier this week: The open exchange of ideas creates a foundation for success. Very inspiring. And, at the moment, a little ironic. Stetson is getting a well-deserved earful from a national free-speech organization that accuses the school of repressing the very exchange of ideas it purports to value. The dust-up began with the launch of a conservative student-run publication called Common Sense, whose inaugural issue this fall offended the administration’s sensibilities. For starters, the independent publication used Stetson’s logo. Moreover, according to a memo written […]

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  • Stetson University Outlaws Jay Leno

    December 8, 2005

    DELAND, Fla., December 8, 2005—Stetson University has announced that parody, “derogatory” or “demeaning” comments, and even jokes from The Tonight Show are out of bounds for its students. Stetson’s chilling declarations came after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) protested the private Florida university’s censorship of a student magazine. “Stetson’s Orwellian policies should scare every student on its campus,” remarked FIRE President David French. “If saying anything that could be considered ‘derogatory’ is outlawed at Stetson, its students are taking a risk by speaking at all.” Stetson promises its students that it will provide a “liberal education” and […]

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