Free speech as a principle has never been more contested on American campuses than it is today. From canceled speakers to speech-chilling policies, learn which institutions have improved — and which have only gotten worse. FIRE's research experts — Adam Goldstein, Sean Stevens, and Nathan Honeycutt, dive into the rankings, and why they matter.
This webinar featured Amna Khalid, associate professor of history at Carleton College, Codi Lazar, steering committee member of the CSU Faculty for Academic Freedom, Flynn Cratty, executive director of the Harvard Council of Academic Freedom, and Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE attorney. The panelists discussed how they are rising up at Ivy League institutions, state university systems, small liberal arts colleges, and beyond to protect one of higher education’s most important principles: academic freedom. This event was organized by Connor Murnane, Director of Engagement and Mobilization, and Komi Frey, Director of Faculty Outreach, and was recorded on June 7, 2023.
During this webinar, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax detailed various allegations, particularly those involving in-person comments, and explained why she believes none warrant the disciplinary proceedings being led by Dean Theodore Ruger. She also warned that if Dean Ruger succeeds, the consequences for academic freedom at Penn, and nationwide, will be dire. Jonathan Zimmerman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, joined the conversation. This event was moderated by Komi Frey, Director of Faculty Outreach, and was recorded on April 13, 2023.
In this webinar, “The Academic Mind in 2022,” FIRE's Nathan Honeycutt and Sean Stevens discuss the results of FIRE’s nationwide survey of nearly 1,500 faculty’s attitudes toward free expression and academic freedom. The full report is here: The Academic Mind in 2022: What Faculty Think About Free Expression and Academic Freedom on Campus. This discussion was moderated by Komi Frey, Director of Faculty Outreach, and was recorded on March 21, 2023.
Our guests — Tim Shiell, April Bleske-Rechek, and Eric Giordano — are three faculty at various University of Wisconsin campuses who attempted to collaborate on a system-wide study of free speech attitudes, but were met with pushback from students and administrative leaders whose censorious actions demonstrated the precise problem the faculty wished to study. Fortunately, Shiell, Bleske-Rechek, and Giordano prevailed! During this webinar, we discussed the extensive report on their findings.
This discussion was moderated by Komi Frey, Director of Faculty Outreach, and was recorded on March 2, 2023.
Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago, argued that DEI statements undermine academic freedom.
Brian Soucek, Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of California, Davis, argued that the statements need not undermine academic freedom, if done properly.
This debate was moderated by Komi Frey, Director of Faculty Outreach, and was recorded on February 7, 2023.
FIRE Vice President of Student Outreach Molly Nocheck joins University of Wisconsin-Stout Professor Tim Shiell and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor James Szymalak for a discussion on how to effectively advocate for free expression on campus, and how students and faculty can work together in pursuit of this common goal. This discussion was recorded September 28, 2022.
Erin Coyle, associate professor of journalism at Temple University, and Zach Greenberg, senior program officer with Campus Rights Advocacy, joined this faculty webinar for a discussion of the intersection of public records laws and higher education. Topics discussed include the basics of public records laws, how professors can utilize public records laws in their work and research, and how professors can respond if they find their records targeted. This webinar was recorded on March 22, 2022.
Aaron Terr, an attorney and program officer with Campus Rights Advocacy, joined this Faculty Network webinar for a discussion of FIRE’s work defending individual faculty rights in 2021. The discussion covers some of the major issues and trends FIRE encounters, what we expect to see in 2022, and how faculty can be prepared to defend their rights. This webinar was recorded on January 27, 2022.
Sean Stevens, FIRE’s senior research fellow for polling and analytics, joins FIRE’s Faculty Network webinar for a discussion of FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings, which ranks the climate for free expression at more than 150 institutions. The webinar provides an in-depth review of the survey’s methodology and key findings, discusses how FIRE’s free speech rankings have evolved since our first report was issued in 2020, and discusses possible future lines of research that can be explored from the survey’s data. The webinar was recorded on November 9, 2021.
FIRE Research Fellow Komi German joins FIRE Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla for a discussion of our new “Scholars Under Fire” report, which analyzes more than 400 campaigns to get professors sanctioned for their expression at campuses around the country. Komi and Peter also fielded questions from faculty about the report, which documents the ways and reasons that scholars have faced calls for sanction; how scholars and administrators have responded to different forms of targeting; and what (if any) sanctions scholars faced in response to targeting incidents occurring from 2015 to the present. This webinar was recorded on September 16, 2021.
In this FIRE Faculty Network webinar, we discuss FIRE’s new Faculty Legal Defense Fund, which will provide free legal services to faculty at public institutions who need assistance navigating challenges to their First Amendment rights. Joining the webinar are Ronnie London, director of FIRE’s Faculty Legal Defense Fund, and professor Phillip Beverly, a plaintiff from FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project lawsuit at Chicago State University. With Peter Bonilla, vice president of programs at FIRE, the panelists discuss the workings of FIRE’s new defense fund, discuss the experience of engaging in litigation against one’s institution, and take questions from participants. The webinar was recorded on April 27, 2021.
In this webinar, FIRE Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla hosts Joe Cohn, FIRE’s legislative and policy director; and professor Donald Downs, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for a discussion of the current legislative climate for free speech and academic freedom. We discuss a number of different legislative proposals at state legislatures around the country — including bills that would mandate viewpoint diversity at public universities and would target the use of critical race theory in institutional programming — while also discussing larger lessons and insights that can be taken from various conflicts between government and academia over the years. This discussion was recorded on March 16, 2021.
In this webinar, FIRE Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla and Senior Program Officer Mary Zoeller discuss FIRE's work advocating for the “Chicago Statement,” which has been adopted at dozens of institutions nationwide following its establishment at the University of Chicago in 2015. We're also joined by Georgetown University professor John Hasnas, who helped pass a version of the Chicago Statement at his institution, and Leila Brammer, director of the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse at the University of Chicago, an undergraduate program rooted in the Chicago Statement's principles.
Adam Steinbaugh, director of FIRE's Campus Rights Advocacy team, joined Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla for a discussion of FIRE's case investigation and public advocacy process. He describes recent trends in campus free speech controversies, including factors that resulted in FIRE receiving the most case submissions in its history in 2020. This discussion was recorded on November 20, 2020.
FIRE Senior Research Fellow Sean Stevens joins Vice President of Programs Peter Bonilla to discuss FIRE's rankings of the climate for free expression at 55 institutions around the United States and takes questions from Faculty Network members. “2020 College Free Speech Rankings: What’s the Climate for Free Speech on America’s College Campuses?” features the opinions of roughly 20,000 students, making it the largest free speech survey of college students ever performed. It scores institutions on openness to opposing viewpoints, the climate for self-expression, administrative support of free speech, and campus expression policies. This discussion was recorded on October 20, 2020.
FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley, Senior Fellow Samantha Harris, and Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn discuss the Department of Education's new Title IX regulations on sexual misconduct and due process in campus judicial proceedings. This webinar was recorded on September 23, 2020.
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