University of Florida: Reaffirmation of Right to Show Documentary

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Florida

The University of Florida drew criticism from FIRE after the administration was critical of students promoting an event showing the controversial film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Several student groups-including UF’s Law School Republicans, College Republicans, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Law Students Association-had posted fliers to advertise a November 13, 2007, screening of the film.  The fliers used the headline, “RADICAL ISLAM WANTS YOU DEAD.” Vice President for Student Affairs Patrica Telles-Irvin e-mailed all students at UF stating that “the groups that posted [the fliers] owe the campus, and particularly campus members of the Islamic faith, an apology and a clarification.” FIRE wrote to Telles-Irvin, reminding her that the students were protected under the First Amendment, and warning the administration’s message was creating a “chilling effect” on campus. Telles-Irvin then wrote all UF students, assuring them of their right to free speech, and making clear the students promoting the film would not be punished.