Isaac Smith was a student at Ohio University (OU) where he helped to lead the group Students Defending Students (SDS), an organization that provides free assistance to students accused of campus misconduct. In order to interest other students, SDS made some eye-catching T-shirts emblazoned with the group’s original slogan from the 1970s: “We get you off for free.” But when members of the group wore the shirts at a fall recruitment fair, the dean of students told them that they should not wear the shirts because they were not professional and contained sexual innuendo—which was, of course, the point.» Read More
Anthony Vizzone just wanted to hand out copies of the Constitution and recruit students for his student organization—the University of Hawaii at Hilo Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). But when he crossed the “imaginary boundaries” of his university’s free speech zone, administrators were there to stop him.» Read More
Meet Andrew Breland, a student journalist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 2014 FIRE Summer Intern.
Andrew laments that while Case Western claims to support free speech, it often compromises freedom of expression for the sake of “civility” and other vague, subjective notions that are too often cited to justify censorship. FIRE has written about this phenomenon extensively.» Read More
Meet Jason Willick, a former FIRE summer intern and student at Stanford University.
Jason writes for Stanford’s student newspaper, The Stanford Daily, and serves as editor-in-chief of the Stanford Political Journal. In this video, Jason describes what it means to believe in and support freedom of speech, and he shares his experiences with censorship on campus.» Read More
Meet Andrew Guernsey, a student at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of Voice for Life—a pro-life student organization at JHU.» Read More
Today, Molly Nocheck is a program officer for campus outreach here at FIRE. But before she joined our team, she was an activist for student rights at her alma mater, Ohio University (OU). As a member of the student organization Students Defending Students (SDS), Molly worked to ensure that student due process rights were protected and that restrictive and unconstitutional speech codes were challenged.» Read More
Applications are open for the 2015 FIRE Student Network Conference, and space is filling up fast.
Why should you sign up? We can tell you about our exciting program, featuring keynote speakers Radley Balko and Nadine Strossen. We could go into detail about the practical tools you’ll gain and the important connections you’ll make at the conference. We could even remind you that it’s free to attend and that travel stipends are available to help get you to Philly.
But don’t take it from us. Check out what students at the last conference had to say about working with FIRE to fight for student rights.» Read More
In FIRE’s latest video, Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free-Range Kids movement, argues that too often we exaggerate the potential for danger when pushing “zero tolerance” rules in elementary schools or passing speech codes on college campuses.» Read More
Today, FIRE presents a timely new video featuring Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Rauch. In the wake of last week’s horrifying attack on Charlie Hebdo in France, Americans and Europeans are rediscovering the importance of unfettered expression. In the interview, which was taped last year but not released until now, Rauch explains how the Salman Rushdie affair of the 1980s and the West’s “watery, weak” response to it inspired him to write his landmark book, Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. Rauch also sheds light on the damage hate speech laws (which are common in Europe, including in France) can do to minorities, and he argues that free speech is their best weapon against oppression.» Read More
Today, FIRE released a new video that chronicles Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project plaintiff Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle’s fight for free speech at Citrus College in California. As Torch readers may recall, Sinapi-Riddle’s troubles with Citrus College began September 17, 2013—Constitution Day—when he asked another student to sign a petition protesting the National Security Agency’s surveillance program outside of the school’s designated free speech zone. A campus administrator at Citrus threatened Sinapi-Riddle with removal from campus for engaging in this conversation outside of the “free speech area,” which comprises just 1.37 percent of the Citrus campus.» Read More