Rights in the News: From Campus Climate to Climate Research

May 14, 2010

Two people who heard from FIRE this week are Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli and Southwestern College Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra. Attorney General Cuccinelli was warned by FIRE, along with the AAUP and ACLU of Virginia, of the threat to academic freedom posed by his civil investigation of the climate science research of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann. Meanwhile, FIRE warned Chopra again to clean up SWC’s act and give its students and faculty a free speech policy worthy of the First Amendment before somebody sues.

As Adam discussed earlier, FIRE may soon have its hands full with another California community college district–the Peralta Community College District, which is considering an unconstitutional new free speech zone even as it pays out $90,000 of the people’s money to settle a lawsuit filed over its punishment of students’ religious speech. This latest development was reported by Matt Krupnick for the Contra Costa Times, citing FIRE’s long history of successful advocacy against free speech zones around the country.

More speech code advice this week comes from the college press via the Bucknell University student paper The Counterweight, in an article by incoming FIRE intern Kirby Thomas, who urges reform of Bucknell’s illiberal policies. Also, an article from University of Cincinnati student Jeremy Davis in the student paper The News Record points his fellow students to UC’s own red-light policies in FIRE’s ever-growing speech code database. Students about to leave campus for the summer–and those who have recently accepted offers to enroll–can also monitor their schools’ speech codes with FIRE’s widgets and will get a free FIRE T-shirt for doing so.

Finally, this coming Tuesday marks the anticipated release of the book New Threats to Freedom, which includes a chapter from FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on one of the most dangerous threats to student free speech today–the students themselves. We’ll have much more on New Threats to Freedom here on The Torch next week.