Freedom of Conscience

Liberty cannot exist in a society in which people are forced to conform their thoughts and expression to an official viewpoint. Differences of opinion are the natural byproducts of a vibrant, free society. At many of our nation’s colleges and universities, however, students are expected to share a single viewpoint on controversial matters like the meaning of diversity, the particulars of racism, and the impermissibility of “hate speech.” Mandatory “diversity training,” in which students are instructed in an officially approved ideology, is commonplace. Some institutions have enacted policies that require students to speak and even share identical attitudes on these matters or face disciplinary charges. The FIRE cases listed below showcase our efforts to roll back this unprecedented intrusion into students’ freedom of conscience and ensure that students are given the right to make up their own minds on the issues of the day—without administrative coercion.