• Syracuse University: Disciplinary Investigations of Satirical Law School Blog

    October 25, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL) student Len Audaer was told on October 18, 2010, that he was being investigated for harassment for his alleged involvement with the anonymous, satirical blog SUCOLitis about life in law school, which was meant to emulate The Onion. The blog included a disclaimer stating, “No actual news stories appear on the site.” “Independent prosecutor” and SUCOL professor Gregory Germain had threatened Audaer with expulsion, without ever revealing what expression in particular justified the charges or even who was charging him. Just days after FIRE named Syracuse in The Huffington Post as one of the […]

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  • Clemson University: Student Charged with Harassment and Disorderly Conduct for Single Email

    May 24, 2010
    Category: Due Process

    Clemson student William Kirwan was charged with “Disorderly Conduct,” “Harassment,” “Failure to Comply with Official Request,” and “Computer Misuse” after he told Clemson administrator Laura McMaster via email that “I’m not going to let you bully the organization into doing the things you want us to do or perceive as important” with regard to his group’s choice not to participate in a student organization fair, and joked that she was “smoking crack.” FIRE wrote Clemson president James F. Barker on May 24, 2010, to remind him that Kirwan’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. Clemson dropped all charges against […]

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  • University of Idaho: Student Charged With Discrimination and Harassment for ‘Offensive’ Speech

    May 5, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    On April 5, 2010, University of Idaho student Alex Rowson was charged with “discrimination” for saying that “illegal immigration destroyed my home state of California” when he interrupted a break in a musical concert celebrating César Chávez Day. In an unrelated incident, he was charged on April 23, 2010, with “harassing” other students by shouting that “liberalism is destroying America” during a “Take Back the Night” march. After FIRE wrote President Duane Nellis and demonstrated why the charges of “discrimination” and “harassment” were unfounded, the university eventually dropped all charges against Rowson relating to discrimination and harassment.

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  • Hinds Community College: Student Barred from Class

    April 27, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    On March 29, 2010, Hinds Community College (HCC) student Isaac Rosenbloom complained to a fellow student following class that his grade in the course was “going to f— up my entire GPA.” After overhearing this comment, Rosenbloom’s professor, Barbara Pyle, threatened him with “detention” and submitted a disciplinary complaint against Rosenbloom. HCC found Rosenbloom guilty of “flagrant disrespect” and issued him twelve “demerits,” just three short of suspension, and involuntarily withdrew him from Pyle’s course, causing him to lose his financial aid eligibility. After HCC failed to respond to FIRE’s initial letter, FIRE obtained the assistance of attorneys Robert B. […]

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  • University of California at San Diego: First Amendment Violations at UCSD

    February 22, 2010
    Category: Due Process, Free Speech

    In a victory for freedom of the press on campus, the student government of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) voted last night to end an ongoing moratorium on funding for student media. The vote restores funding for student media organizations and makes no changes to the current policy governing student media. FIRE has been working with student media to end the funding freeze.

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  • Southwestern College: Professors Banned from Campus after Students Stray Beyond ‘Free Speech Patio’

    November 3, 2009
    Category: Due Process

    In October 2009, within hours of being seen with students who took their peaceful campus protest outside of Southwestern College’s unconstitutional “free speech patio” to a more visible and audible location, three professors were banned from the SWC campus and placed on immediate administrative leave. SWC’s administration later claimed that the professors had incited the protesters to leave the free speech area and had physically confronted police. While the professors were reinstated just two days after FIRE intervened, SWC’s policy restricting expressive activity to its tiny “free speech patio” was not revised to more closely conform with the First Amendment […]

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  • East Georgia College: Professor Fired Without a Hearing over Mysterious ‘Sexual Harassment’ Charge

    August 1, 2009
    Category: Cases, Due Process

    During a faculty training session in 2009, Professor Thomas Thibeault argued that East Georgia College’s (EGC’s) sexual harassment policy was flawed for not offering protection against false or malicious accusations of harassment. Two days later, EGC President John B. Black ordered Thibeault to resign his position or be fired and have his “long history of sexual harassment … made public.” Thibeault had never before faced such charges. He refused to resign and was escorted from campus by police. Black later informed Thibeault that he had only been “suspended” but that he faced termination for sexual harassment, and failed to provide […]

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