Wesleyan University: Violation of Freedom of Association


Wesleyan University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

Wesleyan University promised freedom of association to its students. Yet, in order to force a private fraternity to seek official recognition, Wesleyan prohibited all students from "participating in social activities" on the property of any unrecognized private association. The policy was scheduled to go into effect in August 2011. FIRE wrote to Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth advising him that this new policy violated Wesleyan's moral and legal obligation to its students dating back to 1969, namely its promise that "As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right of petition that other citizens enjoy ... both on and off campus." The new policy effectively banned students from participating in social activities on a vast amount of off-campus property including houses of worship, the Middletown Elks Lodge, the Italian Society of Middletown, and a wide variety of private societies throughout Connecticut.