Stand Up For Speech: Year in Review

FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech litigation project

Year in Review A year ago today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced its unprecedented STAND UP FOR SPEECH LITIGATION PROJECT. It’s only been a year, but see how much we’ve accomplished.


Stand Up For Speech was launched to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes at America’s public colleges and universities through litigation because such burdens on free expression do not hold up in court. In a single calendar year, FIRE sponsored eight lawsuits (the project has supported 10 lawsuits overall). Of those, five have settled with comprehensive policy reforms in favor of First Amendment rights, two are in the process of settling, and one is in the preliminary stages. Bob Corn-Revere and his colleagues Ronald London and Lisa Zycherman of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine have served as attorneys for all of the students and faculty participating in the project. Since Stand Up For Speech was launched, the project has:
  • filed 10 lawsuits
  • achieved 5 victories
  • suffered 0 losses
  • restored free speech to over 150,000 students.

FIRE has done a really good job DEFENDING THE LITTLE GUYS that otherwise would have had no medium to defend themselves.” – Paul Gerlich, Iowa State University plaintiff

Stand Up For Speech students and faculty are changing the risk-benefit analysis for administrators who violate First Amendment rights. Since the project started, 28 colleges and universities have reached out to FIRE to voluntarily reform their speech codes, resulting in policy revisions at 13 institutions thus far.

PRIOR TO FILING MY LAWSUIT, I FELT HOPELESS after exhausting all other means,… pleading with administrators to have a voice.” ‐ Nick Tomas, Cal Poly Pomona plaintiff

I STAND UP FOR SPEECH because it is the bedrock of a free society.” – Nicole Sanders, Blinn College plaintiff

Not long after the settlement, we were out passing out Constitutions again…It’s a THOUSAND TIMES BETTER NOW.” – Robert Van Tuinen, Modesto Junior College