Clementi Act, University of South Florida in FIRE News This Week

December 3, 2010

FIRE’s principled oposition to the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act continued to make headlines this week. For example, Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel and former FIRE president David French concurs with FIRE’s free-speech concerns regarding the bill in his post for Phi Beta Cons. Meanwhile, in a column for The Atlantic, noted civil libertarian and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer cites FIRE’s case history to predict that college administrators will take advantage of the proposed legislation to curtail protected student speech. Finally, Steve Kolowich notes FIRE’s stance against the bill in an article for Inside Higher Ed about CollegeACB, a website some critics claim is a venue for "cyberbullying."

Young Americans for Freedom’s (YAF’s) ordeal at University of South Florida (USF) was also prominent in the news this week. Torch readers will remember that YAF was initially denied recognition at USF because its mission was too "similar" to that of Young Americans for Liberty. Although YAF was eventually granted provisional recognition after FIRE intervened, USF has not relinquished its unconstitutional discretion to reject student groups for such a reason. Mike Adams provides an entertaining satire of the situation at Also, in a column for, Brittney Morrett praises FIRE for exposing the laughable double standard at USF. Finally, Peter’s blog post about the recognition of YAF at USF was reposted on the Student Free Press Association’s website.

Last, but certainly not least, is an unexpected shout-out. This week, Ryan Strong reminded Occidental Weekly readers of the gross violation of civil liberties that occurred on Occidental’s campus six years ago. You must read to believe the saga of Jason Antebi, the student host of a popular college radio show who was fired from the show by administrators and subsequently found responsible for "sexual and gender hostile environment harassment" because of his on-air comments. Occidental even used the controversy as a pretext for dissolving the entire student government. In his column, Strong fervently criticizes Occidental’s investigation and further slanderous insinuations against Antebi, while he commends FIRE for supporting Antebi’s right to free speech. For more on this shocking case, be sure to check out Will’s 2007 blog entry, "Antebi Explained."