Fredrik deBoer has been in and around academia his entire life. He’s a fourth generation Ph.D. who has blogged about education issues since 2008. Writing from a socialist perspective, he regularly tackles campus free speech debates. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we ask deBoer how censorship and growing distrust threaten the future of higher education, and why he believes his colleagues on “the left” contribute to it.» Read More
FIRE is aware of reports that California State University, Fresno terminated professor Lars Maischak after reports surfaced of his tweet from his since-deleted account in which he stated that “Trump must hang.”» Read More
As detailed in yesterday’s press release, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has deigned to respond to the national criticism sparked by its May 9 “blueprint” for Title IX compliance. We’ve issued a statement pointing out that OCR’s attempt to walk back the threat to free expression presented by the blueprint doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, but I wanted to take a closer look at five serious questions raised by OCR’s statement.1. How is the blueprint’s definition of “sexual harassment” consistent with First Amendment precedents?
OCR’s statement claims that the blueprint is “entirely consistent with the First Amendment.” My question: How, [...] » Read More
The controversial University of Montana findings letter and resolution agreement (together, the “blueprint”) issued by the Departments of Justice and Education two weeks ago have drawn criticism from commentators nationwide. The heat has come from all corners, with UCLA School of Law professor and First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh, former Department of Education attorney Hans Bader, editorialboards, columnists, bloggers, civil libertarians, and many more weighing in on the threat to free speech on campus.
Given the hailstorm of criticism that has followed the feds’ high-profile roll-out for the University of Montana agreement, I’ve been struck by the lack of public support for the shockingly broad [...] » Read More
Over the years, FIRE has repeatedly gone to bat for student newspapers and student journalists faced with censorship. That censorship came in many forms, ranging from newspaper theft, reduced support from student activity funds, and the firing of faculty advisors, to prior review and editorial control of content. Since it’s Free Press Week, here, in no particular order, are three of the most egregious examples of free press violations from FIRE’s case archives.1. Prior Restraint at Quinnipiac University
Prior restraint was the censorship tool of choice for administrators at Quinnipiac University (QU) from 2007 through much of [...] » Read More
Last week we asked FIRE’s Facebook fans to tell us why they support our work. The responses we got ranged from thoughtful to heartwarming to clever. See what our friends are saying about us:
I support FIRE because there is nothing more important to a free democratic society than free speech, and it is outrageous that free speech is prohibited on our college campuses, and that students are being conditioned to remain silent and fearful of engaging in open debate and in voicing their thoughts and opinions.
I support FIRE because students are not second-class citizens, becoming a student is not becoming [...] » Read More
A little over a year ago, I flew into Philadelphia to interview for an open position with FIRE (spoiler alert: I got the job). Sitting in the conference room with my soon-to-be coworkers, they asked me to name a few cases with which I was familiar.
My calm, calculated interview demeanor dropped as I grinned and laughed like the nerd girl I am. “The Firefly case. I love Firefly.”
FIRE celebrated several significant victories with our Individual Rights Education Program in 2011. This year saw a number of important university policy changes as well as other positive developments for individual rights on campus.
FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program (IREP) encompasses our efforts to educate students, faculty, and the public about the abuses of liberty taking place on college campuses across the nation, and to inform them about what they can do to fight back. Working with these constituencies—and in many cases, directly with collegeadministratorsthemselves—IREP aims to achieve the necessary changes in university speech policies so that these [...] » Read More
Let Valdosta State Ruling Be a Warning to University Administrators: Qualified Immunity Will Not Bail You Out
FIRE has been warning college presidents and administrators for some time that when they violate the expressive rights and due process rights of students at public universities, they do more than defy the dictates of the Constitution (and, for that matter, abandon their moral duties as leaders of our nation’s institutions of higher education). We have warned that administrators who violate students’ First Amendment and due process rights precariously ignore, at their own risk, controlling Supreme Court decisions and other longstanding federal court precedents on these matters.
That’s because administrators at public colleges [...] » Read More
PHILADELPHIA, August 18, 2010—In a victory for free speech on campus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an opinion today in McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands striking down unconstitutional speech policies maintained by the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) on First Amendment grounds. The Third Circuit—whose jurisdiction includes the Virgin Islands as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware—found the university’s regulations prohibiting “offensive” or “unauthorized” signs and conduct causing “emotional distress” unconstitutional. The Third Circuit also upheld the federal district court’s invalidation of a policy that forbade causing “mental harm” or demeaning or [...] » Read More
Category: Press Releases