Do we as a society still leave room for harmless errors of judgement, for learning opportunities, and for conversation? Do we leave room to question orthodoxy in all its forms? Increasingly, recent events on college campuses indicate that the answer to these questions is a definitive “no.”» Read More
Today, in a ruling of nationwide importance, a federal appellate court gave a Columbia University student suspended for sexual misconduct a new shot at proving that the university denied him a fundamentally fair proceeding.
While many students have sought to challenge the unfair processes that universities often use to adjudicate claims of sexual assault, such claims—while morally compelling—do not always fit neatly into a legal framework. This is particularly true at private universities, where there is no constitutional right to due process. Without the option of a constitutional claim, many students challenging private university procedures have argued that universities are violating Title IX by discriminating on the basis of sex in their handling of sexual misconduct claims.» Read More
There should be no place safer for free speech and academic freedom than a public university. After all, as state agents, they are legally—and morally—bound to respect their students’ constitutional rights.
So why have many of the public universities in my home state of North Carolina egregiously violated the rights of their students? Why does Duke University, the private institution I attend, uphold the values of “freedom of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas,” while many of its nearby public counterparts fail to do so despite identical obligations?» Read More
In recent years, many discussions about student activism on college campuses have cast freedom of speech as a hindrance to social justice or other objectives of student activism. This characterization creates an unhelpful and false dichotomy between two concepts that are inherently linked. Simply put, without robust First Amendment guarantees, social justice movements would not be able to exist and thrive on campus.» Read More
FIRE EXCLUSIVE: Kelly Carlin, Rain Pryor, and Kitty Bruce Speak Out About Their Fathers and the Fight for Free Speech in Comedy (VIDEO/PODCAST)
If you look up Comedy Central’s list of the 100 best stand-up comedians of all time, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce sit atop it at one, two, and three, respectively.
Rain Pryor, Kelly Carlin, and Kitty Bruce are the daughters of the godfathers of comedy, and today you can hear them speak out—for the first time ever together—about their fathers and the fight for free speech in comedy on and off campus.» Read More
At one time, the University of Mississippi was the setting for one of the most infamous efforts to keep public schools racially segregated. Today, with more than 50 years separating it from that grim past, Ole Miss is gaining notoriety for its sweeping efforts to foster diversity and inclusion on campus. And administrators say it’s an oft-overlooked ally helping make those important changes on campus: Free speech.» Read More
A little over five years ago, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued the “Dear Colleague” letter that ushered in a period of unprecedented federal intervention into colleges’ internal disciplinary systems. In just those five years, students around the country have filed more than 110 lawsuits alleging that they were denied a fair hearing in campus sexual misconduct adjudications. These cases are now working their way through the courts, with new developments happening frequently. This is an overview of the past month’s developments, which include two settlements, a dismissal, a trial, and a number of new complaints, including one with some particularly shocking allegations.» Read More
Adams State University will settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former ASU professor who says the school violated his free speech and due process rights when it banned him from campus over blog posts criticizing the university’s pay practices.» Read More
The public often overlooks the potential impact of university disciplinary hearings on a student’s life because they are internal university processes. But the idea that these hearings don’t really matter couldn’t be further from the truth. Students who violate a university’s code of conduct can face sanctions that affect their future. For example, these violations can show up on a student’s transcript, which may be shared with (and prevent acceptance by) graduate schools and even future employers.
Samuel Flannery is a FIRE summer intern.» Read More
Category: The Torch
It was more than a year ago when we first announced the release of Can We Take a Joke? The FIRE-supported documentary explores what happens when comedy collides with outrage culture on and off campus. Now, after a year on the film festival circuit, audiences can catch full theatrical runs of the movie in New York City and Los Angeles starting this Friday, July 29.» Read More
Category: The Torch