Planning a campus protest — or already part of one? To help get to know your rights, here are some answers to questions we’ve seen come up time and again in over a decade and a half of defending students’ right to free speech and free assembly.
Freedom of assembly is the right of individuals to come together to express shared ideas, and it is one of the rights expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment. This includes the right to peaceably protest and to gather, and it also extends to the right to associate — essential guarantees for ideas to flow freely.
These freedoms have allowed students to organize to express popular and unpopular ideas alike, and have enabled the development of on-campus protest movements, like the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, through which students and the public come together in support of various political and religious causes.
An informed populace is essential to our democracy, and colleges and universities should be welcoming a debate on the role of guns in our society, not stifling it. — FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff
Tarrant County College (TCC) repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of student protesters who intended to participate in the national “Students for Concealed Carry on Campus” protest by wearing empty holsters. Two years in a row, TCC students were told that they could not wear the holsters anywhere on campus and had to confine all protests to tiny “free speech zones.”
As a nonpartisan civil liberties organization committed to defending the civil liberties of college students and faculty members, FIRE is here to hold colleges accountable to their moral and constitutional obligations.
Find strength in your ability to respond, whether through peaceful protesting, engaging in debate, or one of the many other ways you can amplify your voice on campus.
Frustrated truck drivers — first in Canada, then in the United States — descended on national capitals in large, organized convoys to object to governmental COVID-19 requirements. Were they within their rights?
In 2018, FIRE surveyed 2,225 college students about their attitudes toward issues relating to free association, free expression, and student fees on campus. The results of the survey show that almost all students think it is important that their civil rights or liberties are protected and that students more strongly support the rights of some groups to protest peacefully than others.
FIRE’s core defense program provides free assistance to individual students, professors, student media, and campus groups whose fundamental civil liberties are violated.
FIRE’s college Policy Reform team works to proactively and systematically challenge campus policies that violate students’ and faculty members’ free speech and due process rights.
Facing a university investigation? Have officials refused to share evidence or follow fair procedures? FIRE’s lawyers may be able to help.
FIRE advocates for individual rights at both the state and federal level by advocating on behalf of rights-protective legislation and against proposed laws that threaten student and faculty due process rights.
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