Rights in the News: Freedom of Association Wins in Arizona, Now Awaits Supreme Court’s Decision

April 23, 2010

In the same week that FIRE announced an important victory for freedom of association on campus, a question mark hangs over its future as the Supreme Court ponders the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.

We were pleased to report that, following FIRE’s intervention, the University of Arizona approved a chapter of Students for Life for official recognition. The group previously had been denied recognition for requiring its members to sign a statement affirming their belief in the group’s core principles. Arizona has now corrected this error and, until further notice, freedom of association is alive and well in Tucson. The Arizona Daily Star blogged the case on Wednesday.

FIRE hopes that similar vindication will come from the Supreme Court this summer in Martinez, following oral arguments last Monday. You can read Will’s roundup for a sense of the national opinion, as well as Erica’s take on the oral arguments. FIRE will, of course, keep Torch readers posted on this case.

Elsewhere, Greg returns to Temple University’s treatment of the group Temple University Purpose in his Huffington Post column, after noting last week that the group had suspiciously been put on probation hours before his scheduled appearance. As you’ll see from his post, Temple turned out to have assigned one too many police officers (that is, one) to control the crowd at Greg’s speech, though the officer quite enjoyed the lecture—a welcome notch in the "learning liberty" column.

For more on "learning liberty" (or learning how little your cherished institution values it), read Pomona College student Jack Knauer’s piece in The Student Life, where he examines the bias incident policies in place at the Claremont Consortium, which FIRE named April’s Speech Code of the Month. It’s good reading, and we plan to return to it soon; FIRE rarely misses an opportunity to draw attention to the incredibly low threshold a statement has to meet to be classified as "bias" at the Claremont Colleges.