Freedom of Conscience

ISU Norml FIRE
Freedom of Conscience

When FIRE learned that Marshall University had limited enrollment in several “University Studies 101” courses to “African American Students Only,” it letter to University President Stephen J. Kopp explaining that racially segregated courses are both unlawful and misguided. In Kopp’s response, he claimed that the courses were open to both white and African American students.... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

FIRE asked the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take action against political litmus tests in America’s schools of social work. HHS requires its social workers to have degrees from programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), whose standards require evaluating students on the basis of their beliefs. FIRE... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

Columbia University’s Teachers College requires students to demonstrate a “commitment to social justice” and  employs “dispositions,” which it defines as “observable behaviors that fall within the law and involve the use of certain skills,” to evaluate students. These dispositions, “expected of Teachers College candidates and graduates” and “assessed at each transition point,” include “Respect for... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

Le Moyne College dismissed a school newspaper’s adviser for failing to exercise more control over the paper. Professor Alan Fischler had been the paper’s adviser since 1996, when he was chosen by the paper’s staff. When he was dismissed, he was informed by administrators that they wanted a more “hands-on” adviser who would supposedly make... Read more Read more


Free Speech

FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

The NCATE, a leading accreditor of education schools, agreed to drop the vague and politically loaded recommendation that education students demonstrate a belief in “social justice” in order to graduate. The standards required that candidates in an education program “demonstrate the content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.”... Read more Read more


Free Speech

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives brought together a committee to examine allegations that Pennsylvania’s public universities were plagued by liberal ideology and indoctrination. David A. French, at the time president of FIRE, served as a legal adviser to the panel. FIRE released FIRE Report on the First Amendment Responsibilities of Pennsylvania State-Funded Colleges and Universities,... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

Washington State University (WSU) repealed partisan evaluative criteria used to punish a student whose views on diversity and gun control differed with those of other professors at WSU. Student Ed Swan had received poor evaluative teaching marks on his “dispositions” criteria, which had “required students to have a commitment to vague ideological concepts such as... Read more Read more


Freedom of Conscience

Graduate student Scott McConnell handed in an assignment in which he described his ideal classroom — environment which involved “strong discipline and hard work” and which included “corporal punishment.” Though he did well on the assignment, he was summarily dismissed two months later by the Education Department chair, despite his “excellent” evaluation for class work.... Read more Read more


Free Speech

At Rhode Island College, graduate student Bill Felkner was asked to publicly advocate “progressive” social changes that he did not believe in. Social work professor Jim Ryczek suggested to Felkner in an e-mail that if he did not agree with the school’s political philosophy, he should consider leaving or finding another line of work. Shortly... Read more Read more



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