Free Speech in Campus Newspapers as Students Head Back to School

September 19, 2012

As students head back to school this fall, free speech issues feature prominently in campus newspapers thanks to the efforts of dedicated student writers. Today, we wanted to highlight four great articles penned by members of FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network (CFN) to draw attention to free speech issues on their campuses.

First, Danielle Susi of The Quad News at Quinnipiac University published an article about her school’s “red light” speech codes, interviewing FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. Danielle says that “FIRE’s list [of the 7 best colleges for free speech] shows that private universities possess the capability to support free expression on campus.” Hopefully, Quinnipiac will follow suit.

In celebration of Constitution Day, Dan O’Connell at Indiana University (IU) published a stirring op-ed in the Indiana Daily Student calling on IU to uphold its free speech promises, observing that “[IU] can do a lot better in practice” when it comes to campus expression.

Daniel Ortner, a former FIRE intern and Brandeis University alumnus, observed a different anniversary this fall—the five-year anniversary of Brandeis professor Donald Hindley being found guilty of harassment simply for explaining a derogatory term in class. In a letter to the editor of campus newspaper The Justice, Daniel argues that Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence should “finally do justice to Prof. Hindley by apologizing to him for the abuses that he suffered” and reverse the guilty finding.

Finally, North Carolina State University alumnus Derek Spicer drew a broader local audience with his recent blog post for the Pope Center describing how he worked with FIRE to end an unconstitutional civility policy at NC State. He cautions other students that “constant vigilance” is necessary to guard against policies that restrict campus expression.

Congratulations to Danielle, Dan, Daniel, and Derek on their excellent articles! Please check them out.