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. 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


Free Speech

In August 2020, as campuses prepared for students to return amid uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic, RAs at two universities reported that they had been instructed not to speak to journalists. After FIRE wrote letters to the institutions, the University of Missouri pledged to clarify that its policies do not bar student employees from speaking... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020,  MSU began requiring student organizations to report the names of all event attendees to administrators in order to facilitate COVID-19 contact tracing. FIRE wrote to MSU on August 26, explaining that while MSU has a compelling interest in protecting student health, the First Amendment right to anonymous speech and association requires that... Read more Read more


Free Speech

In July 2020, students at the University of North Texas petitioned administrators to disband a conservative student group. A conservative non-profit organization, displeased with the student newspaper’s “biased” coverage of the controversy, issued a records request under Texas’ Public Information Act. The request asked administrators to require the newspaper to share unpublished materials. On August... Read more Read more


Free Speech

On July 16, 2020, Stockton University charged doctoral student Robert Dailyda with a litany of student conduct violations for using a photograph of President Donald Trump as his Zoom background during an online class and for posting about his political beliefs on Facebook. On August 7, FIRE wrote to Stockton calling on the university to... Read more Read more


Free Speech

During the civil unrest following the homicide of George Floyd, Midwestern State University professor Nathan Jun posted on his personal Facebook page in support of the protests, encouraging protesters to “respect existing law” but to expect police to respond violently. An elected county commissioner complained that Jun’s Facebook page featured a “black Antifa flag,” as... Read more Read more



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