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This Month in FIRE History: ‘Citrus College Speech Code Falls’

This month back in 2003, FIRE enjoyed its very first victory in its then-infant Speech Codes Litigation Project:

June 11, 2003 FIRE Press Release GLENDORA, CA—FIRE has scored the first victory of its campaign against speech codes at public universities. California’s Citrus College abandoned its speech code after attorney Carol A. Sobel, a member of FIRE’s Legal Network, sued on behalf of Chris Stevens, a student. “This is a great day for liberty,” said FIRE Co-Director and Boston attorney Harvey A. Silverglate. “There is no doubt: we will defeat speech codes in the courts of law and of public opinion. Public universities will now see that they, too, must honor the Constitution.”

This announcement came a little more than two weeks after we announced the filing of the lawsuit, which makes Citrus College both the first and fastest victory of the litigation project. Citrus was followed by victories at Shippensburg, Texas Tech and, most recently, SUNY Brockport. So far our litigation project has had four victories and no losses (not a bad record, but one made possible only because such blatantly unconstitutional codes remain on the books at so many colleges). Let’s hope more colleges start getting the message and dismantle their speech codes on their own.

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