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Adam Kissel Discusses Grambling State's First Amendment Violations with The Pelican Institute

The Pelican Institute, a Louisiana-based public policy research organization, recently interviewed FIRE's Adam Kissel about the ongoing violations of free speech at Grambling State University. Torch readers will remember that GSU circulated an e-mail notice to students prohibiting them from forwarding political e-mails through the e-mail system if those e-mails "impl[y] your support" for a political candidate. GSU's initial response to FIRE's concerns revealed even more problems with GSU's e-mail restrictions, prompting a joint statement from FIRE and the ACLU of Louisiana.

The Pelican Institute's article (which has been reprinted at The Daily Caller) offers a concise rundown of the case; you can also listen to Adam's interview (roughly 11 minutes) with the Pelican Institute's Fergus Hodgson here.

As I wrote a few days ago, GSU has now promised a comprehensive review of its policies, including the troublesome e-mail policy, which was named FIRE's Speech Code of the Month for October. GSU has yet to revise this policy, however, which means that Grambling continues to violate the First Amendment rights of its own students and faculty members. In the interview, Adam notes the increasing difficulty GSU will have defending its policy as more Louisiana citizens become aware of the school's First Amendment violations:

According to Kissel, "we almost always win free speech fights through public attention, because the public understands that free speech is very important, especially political speech. So we count on the citizens of Louisiana ... to give Grambling State University a call and say, ‘Why aren't you giving your full citizenship rights of freedom of speech to your own students and faculty members?'"

Inspired Louisianans, and anyone else concerned about free speech rights in our colleges, can register their concerns by contacting GSU President Frank G. Pogue at 318-274-6117 or

Thanks to Fergus Hodgson and The Pelican Institute for calling further attention to this important issue. We'll keep Torch readers posted on our efforts at GSU.

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