New York State Senate passes bill targeting student groups who ‘indirectly’ encourage ‘hate speech’ or boycotts of U.S. allies — for third time
For the third year in a row, New York’s State Senate passed a bill that would prohibit student organizations at state universities from eligibility for student fees if they “directly or indirectly” encourage or permit “intolerance, hate speech or boycotts” against some (but not all) allies of the United States. And, once again, the legislative session draws to a close without the measure passing in the New York Assembly, preventing it from becoming law.
University of Washington settles security fee censorship lawsuit, agrees to change policy and pay $122,500 in legal fees
On June 14, the University of Washington settled with the UW College Republicans over a $17,000 security fee imposed on the students for scheduling a rally with the conservative group Patriot Prayer. The settlement requires UW to create a viewpoint-neutral security fee policy and dole out $122,500 to the College Republicans for attorneys’ fees.
The settlement ends the College Republicans’ lawsuit, filed in February, over their effort to have conservative political activist Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, speak at their event. The university sought to charge the group $17,000 for security due to past protests of conservative [...] » Read More
At its annual conference this past weekend in the Washington, D.C., area, the American Association of University Professors voted to censure the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for terminating the teaching duties of graduate student Courtney Lawton following a verbal argument with an undergraduate. The AAUP’s censure comes on the heels of an AAUP investigative report faulting UNL for its handling of Lawton’s case.
The UNL case goes back to August 2017, when Lawton confronted a UNL undergraduate who had set up a table in an outdoor area to recruit members for a prospective chapter of the conservative group, Turning [...] » Read More
Late last month, a federal district court in Georgia issued a disappointing ruling in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, a First Amendment lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a free speech zone policy at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC). Because that policy has since been amended, and one of the students graduated while the lawsuit was pending, the court dismissed the First Amendment claims as moot.
In February 2017, students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford filed an amended complaint against GGC administrators alleging that the public institution’s policies and practices violated their expressive rights. Specifically, the suit alleged that GGC administrators stopped Uzuegbunam from [...] » Read More
Gettysburg College adopts unique ‘Freedom of Expression Philosophy’ with input from various campus stakeholders
Concluding a year-long process of deliberating and drafting last month, Gettysburg College’s Board of Trustees approved a comprehensive statement of principles on free expression, the “Freedom of Expression Philosophy.” Echoing the values of the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (the “Chicago Statement”), the Philosophy will serve as a framework for how the Gettysburg administration will approach free speech issues on campus.
The application deadline for the 11th annual FIRE Student Network Summer Conference is just around the corner, and spaces are filling up fast! Housing and meals will be provided, and a travel reimbursement for up to $300 per student will be available. Apply by Sunday, June 17 at 11:59pm ET for the opportunity to attend the flagship student civil liberties event of the year!
On July 20, over 100 students from around the country and across the ideological spectrum will arrive in Philadelphia to come together for a full weekend of workshops, networking, and collaboration with the nation’s [...] » Read More
Yesterday, FIRE sent Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud a letter calling on his administration to overturn the suspensions of 15 members of the SU Theta Tau fraternity chapter for their protected expression. The letter details how a flawed disciplinary hearing resulted in SU betraying its promises to uphold the free speech and due process rights of its students.
This is our second letter to Chancellor Syverud regarding SU’s response to leaked videos of the fraternity using deliberately offensive language in a private satirical roast of its members. After the videos became public on April 18, SU initiated disciplinary [...] » Read More
Clear and Present Danger podcast – The great disruption: Part I, the printing press and the viral Reformation
The disruptive effects of the internet and social media on the spread of information are unprecedented. Or are they?
In episode 10 of our Clear and Present Danger podcast, we cover the invention, spread, and effects of the Gutenberg printing press:What significance did this new technology have for the dissemination of knowledge and ideas? Why was the printing press instrumental in helping a German monk and scholar break the religious unity of Europe? What happened when new religious ideas raged through Europe like wildfire? And did Martin Luther’s Reformation lead to religious tolerance and freedom, or persecution and censorship? [...] » Read More
A new survey from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education finds that a vast majority of college students support fundamental due process protections in campus disciplinary hearings in order to ensure they are fair. Most top college and universities, however, fail to provide them.» Read More
The 2017–18 academic year kicked off with a new FIRE initiative aimed at challenging students to take action on campus. Students at colleges and universities across the country took on that challenge by participating in two activism toolkit campaigns this school year, and they showed a tremendous commitment to defending students’ rights and the principles of free speech on campus. To honor their efforts, with each campaign, three prizes were awarded to students who facilitated the best-executed campus initiatives.