Due Process

What We Defend

Due process demands that authorities provide fair, unbiased, and equitable procedures when determining a person’s guilt or innocence. The same principle applies to judicial hearings on college campuses: If those campuses care about the justice and accuracy of their findings, they must provide fair and consistent procedures for the accuser and the accused.

History teaches that the rights of all Americans can be secured only through the establishment of fair procedures and with a consciousness that all are equal in the eyes of the law. Yet on many college campuses, the accused face “kangaroo courts” that lack fair procedures, in which the political viewpoint or institutional interests of the “judges” greatly affect the outcomes of trials. The accused are often charged with no specific offense, given no right to face their accusers, and sentenced with no regard for fairness or consistency. As a result, a generation of students is being taught the wrong lessons about justice — and face ruinous consequences in their personal, academic, and professional lives. College students and faculty must come to know that justice means more than merely the enforcement of the will of the powerful and the suppression of the views of the powerless.

Learn more about how due process protects US from governmental overreach

Man in courtroom
KCAI victory
I’m relieved that the school has recognized its mistake and rectified its actions. Knowing that standing up for free expression will now allow other students to consume fictitious content without fearing punishment is the icing on the cake.

Expelled for Retweeting Hentai

Student Story

When incoming student Ash Mikkelsen was expelled without due process after retweeting sexually explicit Japanese-style cartoons featuring nudity and sex, known as hentai, FIRE sprang into action — and won.

FIRE's Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice


For a thorough analysis of your due process rights on campus, consult FIRE’s Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice to learn more about the rights that students should have within campus disciplinary proceedings and the warning signs that student due process rights may be at risk. 

Read Due Process Guide

Statue of Justice holding scales

Due Process on Campus


At too many American colleges and universities, students accused of conduct violations are put through “kangaroo courts” that lack fair procedures, in which social and political pressures or the institutional interests of the “judges” can greatly affect the outcomes of campus disciplinary procedures. Take this course to find out what your due process rights are, learn more about how other American universities treat due process, and empower yourself to use your knowledge of due process to make your school’s conduct process fairer for you and your peers.

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Defending Your Rights

FIRE defends the rights of students and faculty through several core services.

Spotlight on Due Process

Due process and fundamental fairness are in crisis on America’s college and university campuses. FIRE analyzes disciplinary procedures at 53 top-ranked institutions nationwide and rates them based on 10 fundamental elements of due process.

View All Due Process Reports