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College Attempts to Censor Student Columnist: Q&A with Andrew Breland

Meet Andrew Breland, a student journalist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 2014 FIRE Summer Intern.

Andrew laments that while Case Western claims to support free speech, it often compromises freedom of expression for the sake of “civility” and other vague, subjective notions that are too often cited to justify censorship. FIRE has written about this phenomenon extensively.

Case Western’s lackluster support for free speech became most apparent to Andrew when he published a controversial column in The Observer, Case Western’s independent newspaper. His piece discussed the perceived disconnect between what visiting students and families are told by tour guides and the reality on campus. After publishing the column, campus administrators and staff reprimanded Andrew and pressured him not to criticize the school. Thankfully, Andrew took a stand for free speech, telling administrators: “You can’t stop me.”

Andrew discusses his experience in the video below:

Andrew plans to keep writing and dissenting. As he puts it, “Without free speech, you are not going to learn.”

Want to speak truth to power? Learn how you can take a stand for freedom of speech at the 2015 FIRE Student Network Conference, July 24–26 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Applications are due on July 3 and space is filling up fast, so get yours in today!

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