FIRE’s Victory at Ohio U. Makes Headlines

February 4, 2015

On Monday, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project tallied yet another victory for free speech on college campuses. Ohio University agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed by student Isaac Smith last July after administrators censored his student group’s T-shirts.

As Torch readers may recall, Smith’s organization, Students Defending Students, which helps students accused of disciplinary infractions navigate the system for free, wore T-shirts with the group’s longtime slogan, “We get you off for free,” to a campus involvement fair. There, a school official told the students to stop wearing their T-shirts, as they were “inappropriate.” This incident and the events that followed led Smith to sue, with FIRE’s assistance.

As a condition of the settlement agreement, OU has revised problematic portions of its Student Code of Conduct to bring them in line with the First Amendment. As Reason’s Robby Soave reported, yesterday’s win marks the fourth consecutive Stand Up For Speech victory.

Here’s the rest of the OU settlement coverage:

FIRE aims to change the incentive structure that currently encourages colleges to censor the speech of students and faculty members by imposing a real cost for violating the First Amendment. So far, the Stand Up For Speech project has cost the colleges and universities that have been sued more than $240,000—funds that will be used to enable other students to defend their rights in court.

Schools:  Ohio University

Cases:  FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Ohio University – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit