Free Speech

On October 16, 2020, the president of Haskell Indian Nations University, a public university operated by the federal government, sent a letter — styled as a “directive” — to Jared Nally, the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Indian Leader. The “directive” said Nally was “someone who routinely attacks Haskell employees with letters,” faulting him... Read more Read more


Free Speech

During the 2020 vice presidential debate, Collin College professor Lora Burnett tweeted that Vice President Michael Pence needed to shut “his little demon mouth up.” After conservative media outlets republished the tweet, state legislators and members of the public demanded Burnett’s termination, and Collin President Neil Matkin said the college’s “execution of its personnel policies”... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In the fall of 2020, a Pomona College administrator directed recognized student organizations to update their constitutions to include language allowing him to remove organization leaders if they used “inappropriate” language or engaged in “advocacy for . . . illegal activities.” On October 9, FIRE wrote to Pomona College, explaining that its commitment to freedom... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In September 2020, graduate student and adjunct History professor Richard Taylor taught a lesson about the history of the “Columbian Exchange,” the transfer of biodiversity and culture resulting from 15th and 16th century transatlantic trade. After a student filed a bias complaint about Taylor’s slideshow, which provided a discussion prompt (“Do the positives justify the... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In September 2020, Muscatine Community College canceled its fall play, which was to be a virtual performance of “Dog Sees God,” a reimagining of the “Peanuts” cartoon in which the characters are high school students grappling with issues such as sexuality and drug use. The cancellation occurred after an administrator had voiced concerns about the... Read more Read more


Free Speech

Students painted dueling messages on the Kent State free speech rock in August 2020 after protests over the homicide of George Floyd, and some of the messages offended members of the university community. In response, the university stated that it is exploring ways to address offensive expression on the rock, including potentially removing the rock.... Read more Read more


Free Speech

On September 22, 2020, FIRE wrote to Syracuse University calling for an end to its investigation into Professor Jon Zubieta for referencing the “Wuhan Flu or Chinese Communist Party Virus” on his fall course syllabus. The university placed Zubieta on administrative leave and launched an investigation after his syllabus began circulating online. FIRE’s letter explains... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In September 2020, Duquesne University suspended education psychology professor Gary Shank after a student posted a recording of Shank’s class to Twitter, in which Shank repeated the word ‘nigger’ while discussing why use of the word in most contexts is considered inappropriate. Duquesne, while private, makes strong promises of free speech and academic freedom to... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In September 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, RAs at the University of Virginia reported to the student newspaper that they were barred from speaking to the press. FIRE wrote to UVA asking for clarification and reminding the university that it cannot constitutionally place a blanket ban on the RAs speaking with reporters. University of Virginia... Read more Read more


Free Speech

Students painted dueling messages on the “Spirit Rock” in August 2020 after protests over the homicide of George Floyd, and some of the messages offended members of the university community. In response, the university announced that it would install security cameras on the rock, and that it was considering removing the rock, among other restrictions.... Read more Read more



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