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Students Filing Suit against University of Hawaii at Hilo Make a Media Splash

Last week, FIRE broke the news that two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo were suing their school for violating their First Amendment rights. Student-plaintiffs Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone were stopped from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus. The federal lawsuit, coordinated by FIRE and brought by Davis Wright Tremaine, challenges an atrociously tiny free speech zone that covers just 0.26% of the campus.

News of the lawsuit has spread far and wide, even appearing in a Reuters article that appeared in dozens of outlets around the country, including The New York Times. Be sure to check out these outlets for their coverage of the suit:

  • The New York Times, Students Sue Hawaii University Over Freedom of Speech
  • The Washington Post, “University of Hawaii (Hilo): Our Students are Easily Intimidated, Need to be Protected from People Handing out Literature”
  • Fox News, “Hawaii College Sued for Stopping Students from Handing out Constitution”
  • The Huffington Post, “Hawaiian Students Challenge ‘Censorship Swamp’ in First Amendment Lawsuit”
  • Reason Online, “Hawaiian Student Sues After Being Ordered to Stop Handing Out Pocket Constitutions”
  • National Review Online, “Hawaii Students Sue University for Barring Distribution of Pocket Constitutions”
  • The Huffington Post, “Hawaiian University Sued For Blocking Students From Passing Out Copies Of The Constitution”
  • Communities Digital News, "‘Free Speech Zones’ on Campus: Hawaii to Harvard Fear Tomorrow’s Free Thinkers”
  • PanAm Post, “Hawaii: Student Sues University System Over “Free Speech Zone” Violation”
  •, “College Administrators to Students: Stop Giving Away Free Copies of the Constitution”
  • BizPac Review, “University Students Sue for Right to Distribute Copies of the Constitution on Campus”
  • Big Island Video News, “Students Sue UH-Hilo for Violating First Amendment Rights”

Be sure to keep following the latest from FIRE about this important free speech lawsuit! You can check out all the details on the case, including court documents, on the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s speech code litigation page.

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