As today’s press release announces, FIRE will be offering its first-ever Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course on September 14, 2010, in New York City.
The course, titled "Free Speech 101: Protecting Free Expression and the First Amendment at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities," has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board. It is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys. The course is available for two credit hours in the category of "Areas of Professional Practice." Registration costs $40, and financial aid is available. Members of FIRE’s Legal Network may attend free of charge.
FIRE’s CLE will provide an in-depth examination of the state of the law on freedom of speech on today’s college campus. The course will discuss the decades of precedent from the Supreme Court and lower courts upholding First Amendment protections on college campuses, emphasizing the primacy of free speech and academic freedom in higher education, and designating the university campus as a true "marketplace of ideas," where unfettered expression creates informed citizens and ultimately contributes to the health of our democracy.
The course will examine the fact that in spite of this judicial clarity, colleges and universities continue to maintain speech codes—university regulations prohibiting expression that would be constitutionally protected off-campus—denying students and faculty the right to free speech. As the CLE will discuss, courts have consistently struck down these regulations as unconstitutional, yet colleges and universities across the country continue to maintain these unlawful and illiberal prohibitions on speech.
We are excited at this opportunity to share the unique and highly specialized legal knowledge we have gained over the past ten years with respect to speech issues on campus. We hope that by sharing our knowledge with the legal community, we can raise awareness about the extent to which colleges and universities flout the law on free expression in higher education.
FIRE’s CLE is appropriate not only for attorneys who are unfamiliar with FIRE’s mission and work, but also for attorneys who are more familiar with our work or who themselves specialize in First Amendment law. Attorneys participating in the course will be provided a useful overview of recent developments in the law in the field. They will also gain a greater understanding of the ways in which litigation can be utilized to protect the rights of university students and faculty.
The course will be taught by Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, and by me. For more information about the course, registration, or financial aid, contact Will at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thefire.org/takeaction/lawyers.