FIRE Releases New Short Documentary on Freedom of Conscience Case at Missouri State, Announces Student Video Contest Winners

June 9, 2009

FIRE is pleased to announce the release of a new video on DVD and online called "Threats, Coercion, and Bullying at Missouri State." The short documentary covers FIRE’s case at Missouri State University (MSU), where social work student Emily Brooker was threatened with expulsion after she refused (as a matter of personal belief) to send a signed letter to the Missouri state legislature in favor of homosexual foster parenting and adoption. This violation resulted not only in a federal lawsuit (which the school settled) but also in an official report that found that a culture of intimidation was rife in the university’s School of Social Work. The 12-minute documentary features interviews with Brooker, faculty at MSU who were involved in the case, and Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham. You can watch it below.

Additionally, FIRE announces the winners of its "Freedom on Campus" video contest, where students from across the country were invited to submit short videos documenting school policies or practices that stifle their freedoms on campus, with the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes. Congratulations to the first prize winners—a group of students from Ohio University. Robert Nyerges, Dan Ray, Evan Mitchell, and Aaron Karp produced and filmed a documentary on OU’s sexual harassment policy entitled "That’s What She Said," which described how the policy likely violates the First Amendment.

Two runners-up received $1,000 scholarships. Congratulations to Timothy Hawco of SUNY Fredonia for his video, "Day of Protest," and to Yuri Vargas of Westchester Community College for her entry, "Autonomy." FIRE also awarded an honorable mention of $250 to Chad Ainsworth of Southeastern University for his video, "Campus Freedom."

Thank you to all the students who entered the contest. FIRE looks forward to documenting more cases and issues in the near future to help shed light on these rampant abuses of liberty on campus.

Schools:  Missouri State University