Foundation says University of Alabama policy violates students’ First Amendment rights

    By on July 1, 2013

    by Melissa Brown


    TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has intervened on behalf of a University of Alabama pro-abortion rights student group who say police ordered them to stop distributing flyers on campus during the spring semester.

    In a letter sent to UA President Judy Bonner on May 22, FIRE requested that the university reassure its community that “expressive activity on campus” would not be censored. FIRE requested a response to the letter by June 12.

    “Please spare the University of Alabama the embarrassment of fighting against the Bill of Rights — a statement of both law and principle by which the university is [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage Schools: University of Alabama

    John McCain Challenges DOJ On College Sexual Harassment Policy

    By on July 1, 2013

    by Tyler Kingkade

    The Huffington Post


    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused a group of lawyers with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division last week of “single-handedly” redefining the meaning of sexual harassment at colleges nationwide. Such a redefinition could violate the free speech rights of students and teachers, McCainargued in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

    In May, following an investigation into how the University of Montana handles rape and sexual violence on campus, the Justice Department and [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage


    By on June 27, 2013

    by Bob Unruh

    WND Education


    Sen. John McCain, R, Ariz., who challenged Barack Obama for the White House in 2008, has demanded Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, answer why his agency is arbitrarily changing court-approved sex-assault standards for American colleges and universities.

    The dispute is raging over a settlement the DOJ with the University of Montana that inserts new language into requirements for the proper investigation and prosecution of sexual-assault allegations on campus.

    The new DOJ standard says that “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” is sexual harassment, which critics already have argued could include unwanted flirting or date invitations and some [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage

    The Higher Education Hustle

    By on June 24, 2013

    by William Voegeli



    The term “politically correct” entered the American vocabulary in 1991, following a widely discussed New York magazine cover story on higher education, and has become applicable beyond the campus. The Associated Press, for example, announced this year the banishment of “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook. One linguist suggested “unauthorized migrant” as a more respectful substitute. Jay Leno, who is not politically correct, preferred “undocumented Democrats.” Perhaps “joggers without borders” will catch on.

    Still, the university remains the natural habitat, redoubt, and headquarters for political correctness. The predicate for the phenomenon was the democratization of [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage

    Why does the left want to suppress free speech?

    By on June 22, 2013

    by Michael Barone

    The Washington Examiner


    Many people on the political left don’t much like the First Amendment. That seems odd to someone of my generation. In past times people who suppressed what the Supreme Court ultimately ruled speech—student armbands, nude dancing, flag burning—were usually conservatives. But now it seems that it’s mostly liberals who want to shut down speech that offends them, and it’s usually political speech which many people think was the main concern of the Founders rather than the kinds of speech referenced above.

    Anyway, here are some examples of liberals trying to shut down speech.

    Ÿ Democratic Sens. Jon [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage

    Free speech under fire on college campuses

    By on June 15, 2013

    by Paul Gigot

    Fox News Channel


    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the “Journal Editorial Report,” charges of Big Brother abound in the wake of the NSA surveillance leaks. But in the era of IRS targeting, government-run health care and exploding federal regulations, should data mining be your biggest worry? And will shutting the program down diminish our terror-fighting abilities?

    Plus, a new front in the battle over free speech on campus. Do just- released federal guidelines endanger faculty and student rights?

    Welcome to the “Journal Editorial Report.” I’m Paul Gigot.

    Charges of Big Brother from both the left and the right this week in [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage

    A Massive Burden

    By on June 13, 2013

    Inside Higher Ed

    Earlier this month, the federal Departments of Education and Justice reached an agreement with the University of Montana following an investigation into the university’s compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — an agreement that the agencies have said should serve as a “blueprint” for colleges and universities.

    The administrative burden of following this blueprint is so great that it seems as if the federal government has forgotten that universities exist for a purpose other than sheltering 18-to-21-year-olds from offensive speech. Worse still, the federal blueprint defines sexual harassment so broadly [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, FIRE Staff, Media Coverage

    Freedom of Speech Lives On

    By on June 13, 2013

    by Andrea Stagg

    Inside Higher Ed


    “Holding Colleges Responsible” is the latest example in a slew of articles – many of them quoting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – that are meant to alarm anyone with a voice, and the author’s use of selective quotes out of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights’s response to FIRE only fans the flame.

    At issue is whether the Education Department’s enforcement of a law and guidance that are designed to promote compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and prevent sexual harassment [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, Media Coverage

    How Colleges Label Protected Speech as ‘Harassment’–And Why the DOJ and ED Have Made Matters Worse

    By on June 12, 2013

    by Azhar Majeed

    The Huffington Post


    One would think the Departments of Justice and Education would be mindful of citizens’ constitutional rights. Unfortunately, recent developments fly in the face of that assumption: New regulations from the DOJ and ED significantly harm student and faculty free speech rights.

    On May 9, the departments issued a joint findings letter and resolution agreementconcluding their investigation of the University of Montana’s practices regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. Rather than limit their findings and agreement to the problems at that particular institution, however, the DOJ and ED went out of their way to harm campus [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, FIRE Staff, Media Coverage

    Reporting Your Neighbor’s Speech? Don’t Laugh, It’s Coming To A College Campus Near You

    By on June 12, 2013

    by Robert Shibley

    Forbes Online


    In a May 9 letter to the University of Montana, the federal government said it would require nearly every college and university in America, public and private, to institute a reporting system for students to report all speech they see as unpatriotic to campus authorities. College administrators will to be required to conduct a thorough investigation of any such report and save all reports in a database.

    Outrageous, isn’t it? It recalls totalitarian regimes where neighbors are encouraged to inform on one another, and the authorities have wide discretion to determine whether you are free to speak [...] » Read More


    Category: blog, FIRE Staff, Media Coverage