Kansas State University

Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Website: http://www.k-state.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

Thank Kansas State University for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

Kansas State University has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Green Light Policies
  • Policy 8570: OSAS Publicity Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    Eligible groups may distribute literature on campus or in any campus building (with the approval of the authority of that building), provided such distribution does not unreasonably interfere with the movement of traffic, classes, or other scheduled activities.

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  • Policy 3010: Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence, and Procedure for Reviewing Complaints

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    In this Policy, the term “harassment” can have two different definitions, depending on where the alleged conduct takes place and its context. Harassment meeting either of these definitions is considered discrimination.

                1.   In the work, on-campus housing, or other non-academic environments, “harassment” is:

    Conduct toward a person or persons based on race, color, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status that:

          (1) has the purpose or effect of:

                      (a) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or on- campus housing environment for the person(s); or

                      (b) unreasonably interfering with the work, or on-campus housing, of the person(s); and

          (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the terms, conditions, or privileges of a person’s employment, use of on-campus housing, academic opportunities or participation in university-sponsored activities.

                2.   In the academic environment, “harassment” is:

    Conduct toward a person or persons based on race, color, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status that:

          (1) has the purpose and effect of:

                      (a) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment for the person(s); or

                      (b) unreasonably interfering with the academic performance or participation in any university-sponsored activity of the person; or

                      (c) threatening the academic opportunities of the person; and

          (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the terms, conditions, or privileges of the person’s academic opportunities or participation in university-sponsored activities.

    Whether conduct is sufficient to constitute “harassment” is evaluated under the totality of the circumstances, including the frequency of the conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or merely an offensive utterance.  These factors are evaluated from both subjective and objective viewpoints, considering not only effect that conduct actually had on the person, but also the impact it would likely have had on a reasonable person in the same situation.  The conduct must subjectively and objectively meet the definition to be “harassment” under this Policy.  Repeated incidents, even where each would not, on its own, constitute harassment, may collectively constitute harassment under these definitions.

    In this Policy, the term “sexual harassment” is a type of harassment that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, disparagement of members of one sex, or other conduct of a sexual nature when: … the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the terms, conditions or privileges of the person’s employment, use of on-campus housing, academic opportunities, or participation in university-sponsored activities or programs. … The conduct must subjectively and objectively meet this definition to be “sexual harassment” under this Policy.

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  • Statement on Free Speech and Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    Kansas State University has a long and proud history of commitment to free and open inquiry, deliberation and debate in all matters, and the untrammeled verbal and nonverbal expression of ideas. It is the University’s guiding principle to provide all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.

    The ideas of different members of the University community will often and naturally conflict, and some individuals’ ideas will even conflict with the University’s values and principles. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.

    […]

    The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that viewpoints may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. Controversial speech and robust debate are expected and valued on college campuses and in our society. Moreover, the right to engage in such expression is one of our most cherished rights, protected by the United States Constitution. Without unwavering protection of that right, our society would suffer, and the vulnerable in our society would suffer the most. Progress such as civil rights movements and the resulting gains would not be possible.

    It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to judge the value of ideas, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting those arguments and ideas that they oppose. Fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage with each other in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

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  • Student Conduct Code

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    The following described behaviors constitute misconduct in which disciplinary sanctions will be imposed.

    3. Conduct directed towards another person(s) that is intended to and does substantially interfere with another’s educational or employment opportunity, peaceful enjoyment of residence, or physical security.

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  • Policy 3420: Information Technology Usage Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    Though not exhaustive, the following list is provided to emphasize that these activities are NOT allowed on KSU networks or computer systems: … unlawfully harassing others … posting or mailing obscene materials ….

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  • Policy 8530: Student Organizations On-Campus Event Policy

    Speech Code Category: Security Fee Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    For scheduled events the necessity of a full-time police officer shall be determined by the facilities representative at the Pre-Planning Meeting. Should full-time officers be required for the event, they will be expected to monitor inside and outside the event as deemed necessary by the Campus Police Representative at the Pre-Planning Meeting. Additional officers may be required for an event based on past history of the group and/or event and anticipated turnout of people. For scheduled overnight events on KSU grounds and for scheduled social events (e.g., dances, walk/runs) where officers are required, the sponsoring organization will be responsible for the costs incurred from hiring campus police, unless determined otherwise at the Pre-Planning Meeting.

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  • Policy 7840: Use of KSU Buildings and Grounds

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    This policy is to help provide for the safe use of KSU buildings and grounds and the avoidance of scheduling conflicts.  Nothing in this policy is intended to or shall be used to prohibit free expression based on viewpoint, or to prohibit unscheduled expressive activities on KSU grounds. Safety rules and other content-neutral reasonable time, place and manner restrictions may be enforced.

    […]

    For scheduled activities a Facilities Request for Use of University Buildings and Grounds form (Attachment 200) (pdf) shall be completed and submitted to the Assistant Vice President for Facilities at least one week in advance of the requested activity. Building opening requests should be submitted at least 24 hours in advance or before noon on Friday for weekends. A shorter notice period may result in a rejection because of lack of time to make necessary arrangements.

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  • Trigger Warning: Not Being Offended Isn’t a Right at KSU

    November 11, 2016

    By Staff at The Mercury K-State’s students don’t have a right not to be offended… Read more here.

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  • Kansas State Says it’s Not Legally Required to Police Off-Campus Conduct, Feds Disagree

    July 13, 2016

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix Kansas State University has provoked the wrath of the federal government by refusing to police the behavior of students when they leave campus… Read more here.

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  • Fit to Print: Campus Journalists Face Down Those who Want to Stop the Presses

    April 13, 2016

    By Matthew Kassel at Observer It has been a tumultuous year or so for student journalists. Around the country, they’ve have had to contend with campus protesters and school officials who frame the concept of a free press in opposition to notions of politically correct speech… Read more here.

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  • Editorial: College Speech Crackdowns

    October 8, 2015

    By Las Vegas Review at Las Vegas Review-Journal American universities are notoriously hostile to free speech — even student speech that occurs off campus. A recent court ruling in Kansas marked an important victory for student rights, but the decision doesn’t go far enough to rein in unconstitutional policies that infringe on core student freedoms. Last month, the Kansas Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that overturned the expulsion of University of Kansas student Navid Yeasin for off-campus conduct. Mr. Yeasin was a cad in dealing with an ex-girlfriend, posting vile tweets and being a jerk during an off-campus […]

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  • Court Says University of Kansas Can’t Expel Student Over Off-campus Tweets

    September 25, 2015

    By Associated Press at KSHB.com TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The University of Kansas must reinstate a student it expelled for sending offensive tweets about a former girlfriend while he was not on campus, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Navid Yeasin, a senior, was expelled in 2013 after posting the tweets, which the university said violated an order it had issued prohibiting him from having any contact, including electronic or written communication, with the woman. Court documents called the couple’s relationship “tumultuous and at times toxic,” and the woman alleged Yeasin had held her in a car against her […]

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  • Kansas Court of Appeals Orders KU to Readmit Expelled Student Who Committed ‘Reprehensible’ Acts

    September 25, 2015

    By Rick Dean at The Topeka Capital-Journal Court: Navid Yeasin’s ‘demeaning’ actions occurred off campus A Kansas Court of Appeals panel has upheld a Douglas County District Court decision ordering the University of Kansas to readmit a student expelled for actions the appeals court called “reprehensible, demeaning, and criminal behavior” involving a former girlfriend. The appeals panel said the district court was correct in ruling that KU had no legal right to expel Navid Yeasin because his initial conflict with the woman and a subsequent series of “puerile and sexually harassing tweets” and posts to social media occurred off campus […]

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  • KU Can’t Expel Student Over Tweets, Kansas Court of Appeals Rules

    September 25, 2015

    By Peter Hancock at Lawrence Journal-World TOPEKA — The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Kansas University cannot expel a student for misconduct that occurs off campus, and it ordered Navid Yeasin to be reinstated as a student. But the three-judge panel declined to answer one of the larger questions in the case: whether tweets and other forms of social media communication are forms of free speech protected by the U.S. and state constitutions. Instead, the three-judge panel based its ruling on KU’s own Student Code, which generally applies only to conduct that occurs on campus or at university-sponsored […]

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  • Free-Speech Case Finds KU And K-State On Opposite Sides

    July 11, 2015

    By Mara Rose Williams at Kansas City Star Kansas’ two biggest universities find themselves in opposite camps in a possibly pivotal case that pits the limits of free speech against educators’ efforts to protect students from sexual harassment. It holds national implications and tests how far a school can, or must, go in order to police off-campus conduct and the virtual world of social media. The case, set to play out Tuesday in oral arguments before the state Court of Appeals in Topeka, could determine whether colleges end up in the business of policing students’ Twitter accounts and the like. […]

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  • KU Faces Free Speech Challenge In Ongoing Lawsuit

    July 4, 2015

    By Cella Liopis-Jepsen at The Topeka Capital-Journal A lawsuit against The University of Kansas brought by a student expelled in connection with the alleged harassment of his ex-girlfriend is drawing attention from civil liberties groups and Kansas State University, who have submitted briefs to the court questioning KU’s arguments. Navid Yeasin turned to the courts last year after KU kicked him out mid-semester in the fall of 2013 and banned him from KU property. The university had warned him against harassing a fellow student, including making references to her on social media. KU’s warnings came after a series of incidents […]

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  • Two Kansas Universities Are in A Legal Dispute Over Supervising Student Speech Over Campus

    June 26, 2015

    By David Lim at The Huffintgton Post Kansas State University and the University of Kansas are butting heads over how heavily universities can and should supervise student speech off campus under the guidelines set by Title IX to govern sexual harassment. In an unusual legal alignment, the two sister universities find themselves on opposite sides of a former KU student’s First Amendment case that is working its way through the state appeals courts. KSU filed an amicus curiae brief on May 22, stating that universities do not have a responsibility to monitor off-campus sexual discrimination, unless the university maintains control […]

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  • KSU To KU: Don’t Be Stupid And Pretend Title IX Requires Colleges To Police Off-Campus Conduct

    June 23, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix The University of Kansas isn’t getting any love from its rival, in a legal fight that tests whether colleges must police the off-campus conduct of their students under Title IX anti-harassment policies. As The College Fix previously reported, KU is defending the propriety of its expulsion of a student whose alleged harassment of his ex-girlfriend took place over the summer, off campus. The student also called his ex a “psycho bitch” on Twitter, though he blocked her from his feed. KU pointed to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) “Dear Colleague” letter from 2011 […]

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  • 10th Circuit tosses suit challenging Kan. State adviser’s ouster

    August 8, 2007

    A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two former Kansas State University journalism students over the removal of the campus newspaper’s adviser, saying the two do not have a First Amendment claim because they are no longer students at the university. Ron Johnson was removed as director of student publications and adviser to reporters and editors on the Kansas State Collegian in 2004. He and two student editors, Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, sued Todd Simon, then director of the journalism school, and Stephen E. White, the dean of arts and sciences. Johnson, who was assigned other […]

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  • Kansas State University adopts free speech statement, earns FIRE’s highest speech rating

    August 25, 2017

    MANHATTAN, Kan., Aug. 25, 2017 — The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is pleased to announce that Kansas State University has earned FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating for free speech. In consultation with FIRE, the university revised its speech-related policies to fully reflect the university’s commitment to free speech. Kansas State University further affirmed its commitment to free expression by adopting a statement similar to the University of Chicago’s laudable statement on academic freedom. “This is an important, reaffirming moment for our university,” said Cheryl Strecker, general counsel for the university. “We are committed to our values of inclusion, […]

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  • Kansas Court of Appeals Decides Off-Campus Tweeting Case

    October 2, 2015

    Last week, the Kansas Court of Appeals handed down its decision in Yeasin v. University of Kansas, affirming a district court ruling reversing the expulsion of a student for purely off-campus conduct, namely, tweets about another student. The court’s decision was based on narrow grounds, thus avoiding lurking questions regarding free speech and the scope of Title IX. But it may have set the stage for those unanswered issues to become front and center the next time similar facts arise. The case dealt with the expulsion of University of Kansas (KU) student Navid Yeasin, whom the university found guilty of […]

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  • Kansas Universities Fight Over the Limits of Title IX’s Reach

    June 23, 2015

    Last week on The Torch, we reported on the amici curiae brief filed by FIRE and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) in Yeasin v. University of Kansas, currently before the Kansas Court of Appeals. This week, we want to highlight another amicus brief filed in the case—one that is noteworthy not just because of what it says, but because of who is saying it. Kansas State University (KSU) weighed in against its sister state school, the University of Kansas (KU), and the two institutions are battling it out over the scope of a university’s obligation to punish students’ off-campus […]

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  • Critical Speech Chilled at Kansas State

    November 18, 2014

    It’s sometimes difficult to tell just how pervasive a chilling effect on speech is, since would-be audience members might never know what they’re missing. But an article published in The Topeka Capital-Journal yesterday about a controversy at Kansas State University (KSU) makes clear that KSU and the Kansas Board of Regents have contributed to an atmosphere in which many community members feel unsafe speaking out against university decisions. KSU athletic director John Currie met with KSU student-athletes’ parents on November 9 to talk about KSU’s decision to end the university’s equestrian program after the 2016 season. Parents in attendance “voiced […]

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  • Kansas Board of Regents Approves Self-Contradictory, Unclear Social Media Policy

    May 15, 2014

    Yesterday afternoon, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a revised policy on the “improper use of social media” by faculty and staff at the state’s public colleges and universities. The widely criticized policy asserts a commitment to freedom of speech yet authorizes punishment for constitutionally protected speech, and it still leaves professors unsure of what speech a university might sanction them for.

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  • Kansas Faculty Workgroup Plans to Rewrite Overbroad Policy

    January 27, 2014

    Earlier this month, the Kansas Board of Regents created a “workgroup” to review its overbroad and vague new policy on “improper use of social media” by faculty at Kansas public colleges and universities. As my colleague Will Creeley reported last Thursday, the Board refused to suspend the policy during review, leaving faculty still at risk of being fired for posts that “impair[] … harmony among co-workers” or are “contrary to the best interest of the university,” among other things. But happily, the workgroup has already shown greater respect for faculty free speech rights—the Lawrence Journal-World reported Friday that the group plans to “disregard th[e] policy and […]

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  • ‘Free Speech Week’ Celebrated on Campuses Nationwide

    April 13, 2012

    FIRE celebrated Free Speech Week last week by teaming up with Students For Liberty to send FIRE speakers and materials to student groups across the country. We’re pleased to announce it was a great success!   To mark the occasion, 72 student groups distributed FIRE materials and pocket-sized Constitutions on campus. More than 20 student groups also organized expressive events. Many decided to build Free Speech Walls at schools including American University, Boston University, Harvard University, Kansas State University, Winthrop University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Texas San Antonio. FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network (CFN) also worked with […]

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  • K-State Student Sheds Light On Speech Codes In ‘Collegian’

    October 10, 2011

    Here at FIRE, we focus much of our attention on informing students of their rights on campus and how university policies can often be barriers to free expression. In a column in last Friday’s issue of the Kansas State Collegian titled “K-State’s speech code unconstitutional,” Kansas State University student Caleb Greinke brought attention to those concerns. FIRE currently gives Kansas State a “red light” rating, as the university maintains two red-light policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech (in addition to three yellow-light policies). Caleb’s column mentions one of the biggest issues with restrictive speech codes on campus—the chilling […]

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  • Lane v. Simon Update: Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing

    August 23, 2007

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied plaintiffs’ petition for an en banc rehearing of Lane v. Simon. The court’s denial ignores the troubling precedent set by the court’s initial ruling late last month, a concern voiced in an amicus brief filed by FIRE, the SPLC, and seven other journalism associations earlier this week. The disappointing decision leaves Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, former editors of the Kansas State Collegian and plaintiffs in the case, little recourse but to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case. Lane, Rice and their […]

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  • FIRE Joins Lane v. Simon Amicus Brief

    August 21, 2007

    Yesterday afternoon, FIRE joined the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) in filing an amicus brief on behalf of appellants Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, requesting that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals grant a panel rehearing or rehearing en banc in the case of Lane v. Simon, Nos. 05-3266 & 05-3284 (10th Cir. 2007). In the brief, FIRE and the SPLC urge the Tenth Circuit to revisit last month’s decision that the First Amendment claims made by Lane and Rice, former editors of Kansas State’s student newspaper, were moot because the students had graduated while their case was under review. […]

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  • First Amendment Center and Associated Press Report on Dismissed Kansas State Lawsuit

    August 8, 2007

    Our friends at the First Amendment Center have posted an article based on reports from the Associated Press and their own staff about the disappointing decision from the Tenth Circuit that Will reported on in his post last week. The federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by two former Kansas State University journalism students, declaring their suit moot since they graduated while their case was under review. The basis of the students’ claim was that KSU tried to censor their student newspaper by dismissing their adviser in response to criticism of the paper’s coverage. FIRE joined an amicus brief […]

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  • Tenth Circuit to Student Editors: Once Graduated, No Relief Available for Possible First Amendment Violations

    July 30, 2007

    In a disappointing development for student press rights, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a First Amendment suit brought by two Kansas State University (KSU) students was moot because the students had graduated while their case was under review. Prior to appeal, the students’ case (Lane v. Simon, Nos. 05-3266 & 05-3284 (10th Cir. 2007)) had been dismissed at the district court level for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Technically, the Tenth Circuit’s ruling vacates the district court’s dismissal, but effectively reinstates it on mootness grounds. As the Student Press […]

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  • WVU Newspaper on Presidential Candidate’s Free Speech Record

    April 10, 2007

    Bravo to The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University (WVU)’s student newspaper, whose editorial board voiced its concern over WVU presidential candidate M. Duane Nellis for free speech issues at Kansas State University (KSU), where Nellis currently serves as provost.   In 2005, FIRE joined an amicus brief denouncing the removal of student publications adviser Ronald Johnson after KSU administrators determined that the student newspaper had “quality issues.” Never mind that the paper won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award at least once as well as two Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown awards. Whatever the case, Johnson’s dismissal was widely […]

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  • Same Time, Next Year: Tenth Circuit Has Chance to Break Away From Hosty

    October 2, 2006

    About this time last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed down its widely debated Hosty v. Carter decision, which allowed university officials in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin to censor student publications for publishing material they disliked. Hosty severely curtailed the free press rights of student journalists in the Seventh Circuit and provided fodder for the debate of whether other appellate circuits would follow the Seventh Circuit’s poor example. Now, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports that the first college press case to reach appellate review since last year’s troublesome Hosty decision will go before […]

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  • Will Student Press Freedom Survive in Kansas?

    December 16, 2005

    From FIRE’s homepage yesterday comes the news that FIRE joined an amicus brief in a newspaper censorship case called Lane v. Simon: FIRE has joined an amicus brief supporting freedom of the press at Kansas State University. Advisor Ronald Johnson was removed after administrators determined, in part based on its level of “diversity” coverage, that the award-winning paper had “quality” issues. While the move was widely recognized as a punishment of the newspaper, the court went so far as to determine, incomprehensibly, that the “content analysis” of the paper that led to the removal did not represent an attempt by […]

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