As Torch readers know, many universities keep policies on the books that are embarrassingly illiberal and, at public universities, laughably unconstitutional. New York University bans "teasing," Northern Illinois University forbids "words" that "annoy," and Westfield State College prohibits "disparaging remarks that insult ... a student's cultural background," which makes me wonder how Westfield State students fared on St. Paddy's Day.
Well, there is something our readers can do to bring the light of public scorn on these policies: post FIRE's widgets to your website, blog, or Facebook profile. Then, all of your readers and friends can find out about these violations of students' rights.
FIRE currently has four widgets to choose from:
- FIRE's Spotlight widget featuring our iconic traffic light rating (red, yellow, or green). It links directly to FIRE's Spotlight page for the university of your choice. Just visit the Spotlight page for any of the over four hundred schools in our database, scroll down the page, and check out the widget on the right hand side of the screen. You'll just need to copy and paste a few lines of HTML code for your website.
- FIRE's Speech Code of the Month widget features our monthly highlight of the most ridiculous campus speech codes (check out this month's pick here). The widget will automatically update every month when we pick a new candidate for Speech Code of the Month.
- FIRE's Red Alert widget links to our list of the worst of the worst schools when it comes to violating free speech rights on campus. The Red Alert widget links directly to our Red Alert page, listing each of the six schools on our list and detailing their violations of individual rights.
- FIRE's "Support FIRE" widget links directly to FIRE's donation page. It's an easy way to direct people who support FIRE's mission to a tangible means of supporting FIRE's work.
To add the Speech Code of the Month or Red Alert widget to your website just scroll down the homepage until you see the Speech Code of the Month and Red Alert widgets on the right-hand side. Copy the HTML code from the widget box and paste it to the appropriate place on your website.
If you have a Facebook account (of course, so that you can keep up with FIRE's Facebook page), you can also post FIRE's Speech Code of the Month and Spotlight widgets to your profile. Just go to http://apps.facebook.com/fire_scotm/ and http://apps.facebook.com/speech_codes/ respectively and follow the simple directions.
Then send us an e-mail with a link to your site with the widget posted on it, your mailing address, and your T-shirt size. We'll send you a free FIRE T-shirt as a token of our gratitude.