Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Website: http://www.lsu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Louisiana State University – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit

    January 21, 2016

    On January 21, 2016, tenured education professor Teresa Buchanan filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the president of Louisiana State University (LSU) and other top administrators for violating her free speech and due process rights by firing her in 2015.

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  • Louisiana State University: Threat to Muslim Group’s Freedom of Association

    November 11, 2004

    The Muslim Student Association of Louisiana State University (LSU) ran into trouble in the fall of 2003 when it was informed that a new policy required all groups to explicitly state that they would not deny membership on the basis of a list of criteria including “religion” and “sexual orientation.” The MSA decided that it could not include language in its constitution that was inconsistent with its desired expressive purpose; as a result, it was denied recognition by the administration. The group lost all privileges to reserve and use on-campus facilities, distribute literature, and other benefits granted to student groups. […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Computer Users’ Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Specifically, each user of computing resources shall NOT: … Utilize computing resources, including the Internet and/or e-mail, to access, create, transmit, print, or download material that is defamatory, obscene, fraudulent, harassing (including uninvited amorous or sexual messages), threatening, incites violence, or contains slurs, epithets, or anything that may be reasonably construed as harassment or disparagement based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion or to access, send, receive, or solicit sexually oriented messages or images or any other communication prohibited by law or other University directive.

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  • Living On Campus Handbook: Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Activity (verbal, written, graphic, and/or physical) that is threatening in nature or any form of harassment is prohibited. This can include, but is not limited to: posting or distributing material and/or behaving in a manner that is offensive and may contribute to a hostile environment; putting offensive posters/pictures in areas available to public views, including windows or common areas; using e-mail or other electronic messaging, voice mail, message boards, mail, computer networks or other mediums to convey obscene or otherwise objectionable messages or materials; writing graffiti in residence buildings or encouraging or engaging in offensive acts or behavior; and repeatedly following or attempting to make unwanted contact with another person.

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  • University Policy 95.02: Sexual Harassment of Students

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Sexual harassment: is a form of unlawful sexual discrimination. It is defined as unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical behavior of a sexual nature. It can also include unwelcome gender-based conduct.

    Hostile environment sexual harassment: is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or gender-based conduct in which the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic, work, team or organization performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

    Examples include unwelcome touching or suggestive comments, offensive language or display of sexually oriented materials, obscene gestures, and similar sexually oriented behavior of an intimidating or demeaning nature.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Code of Student Conduct: Behavioral Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Repeated, severe, or pervasive actions of a sexual nature directed toward specific individual(s) with the intent or effect to embarrass, harass or alarm, including actual, attempted or threatened physical contact, or acts that create a reasonable apprehension of such behavior, conduct or contact of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive campus, educational, or working environment for another person.

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  • Living On Campus Handbook: Decorations

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Exterior doors are public space and if decorations do not comply with Residential Life’s mission or values they may be removed at the discretion of the University.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Organization Policy Manual: Peaceful Assembly

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    Peaceful assemblies by students are not required to be scheduled or registered with the Office of the Dean of Students unless the event meets one or more of the following criteria:
    1. The event will be held in a building on campus.
    2. The event will utilize a designated area, site or location on campus reasonably adjacent to facilities that are regularly scheduled for use by the University.
    3. The event will utilize a designated area, site or location on campus at which events are typically scheduled.
    4. The event may reasonably require involvement of a service department of the University, e.g., the directing of traffic and/or parking, managing a crowd, the turning on of electricity or the providing of electricity to the site, marking of playing fields, blocking of streets, setting up stages or platforms, placing special trash receptacles in the area, providing tables and/or chairs and inspection and/or cleanup after the event.
    5. Any event involving a table, display or any other structure.
    6. Any event involving amplified sound or sound that is otherwise sufficiently loud to cause a disturbance.
    7. Any event involving the distribution of food or beverages. (See PS-78 for events involving alcohol.)
    8. Any event that poses reasonable safety concerns.
    9. Any event that will involve out-of-pocket costs to the University. (Any such costs must be reimbursed by the user).

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Behavioral Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    A Student may be charged with Behavioral Misconduct for any of the following conduct:

    Repeated, persistent, severe, or pervasive actions directed toward specific individual(s) with the intent or effect to harass, harm, or alarm, including attempted or threatened physical contact, or acts that create the reasonable apprehension of unwanted contact.

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  • Louisiana State University System Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 3, 2016

    “Sexual Harassment” includes unwanted sexual advances, intimidation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with employment, academic performance and is severe, persistent, or pervasive and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive or educational environment.

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  • Fighting for Free Speech on America’s Campuses

    August 1, 2016

    By Cecilia Capuzzi Simon at The New York Times The free-speech watchdog FIRE is a familiar irritant to college administrators, but until this past year, the rest of the country wasn’t paying much attention. An “epic” year is what Greg Lukianoff, president and chief executive of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Colleges and universities were forced to publicly and painfully deal with a confluence of national issues — race, sexual assault, gay rights, politically correct speech — mirrored and magnified in the microcosm of campus life… Read more here.

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  • Jefferson Muzzles go to 50 Colleges and Universities

    April 20, 2016

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post The Thomas Jefferson Center (with which I’m involved as a member of the board of trustees) has just released its yearlyJefferson Muzzles, so I thought I’d pass along the center’s explanation of who the “winners” are this year. Note that the Ccnter supports academic freedom and free speech broadly, and not just those aspects that are legally protected by the First Amendment; so you’ll see many private institutions mentioned here, even though the First Amendment as such does not restrict private entities, as well as the public institutions to which the First Amendment applies… Read […]

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  • Critics say new Policies can Stifle Free Speech

    April 9, 2016

    By Chris Quintana at Albuquerque Journal  University of New Mexico officials say the recent increase in federal Title IX reports shows more people are aware of the issue of sexual discrimination and violence, but free speech advocates say that complying with Title IX can stifle free speech protected by the First Amendment… Read more here.

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  • Title IX as a Threat to Academic Freedom

    March 24, 2016

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights brought needed attention to the problem of sexual assault and harassment on college campuses with its 2011 letter telling institutions to enforce the law. But in so doing, the office has created a slew of new problems with implications for free speech and academic freedom. That’s the premise of a lengthy new report from the American Association of University Professors. … Read more here.

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  • Ten Schools that Hate Free Speech the Most

    March 2, 2016

    By Bob Kellogg at One News Now The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has once again put together its Top 10 list of America’s institutions of learning that support unconstitutional speech codes. Read more here.

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  • Free Speech on Campus

    March 1, 2016

    By Staff at Las Vegas Review- Journal Students don’t check their free speech rights at the gates of the colleges they choose to attend, whether the school is a public or private institution. But tamping down on the First Amendment is at its most deplorable when it happens at state-run public colleges. Read more here.

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  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Releases List of Top 10 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    February 23, 2016

    By Kathryn Blackhurst at The Blaze The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its list of the top 10 worst schools for free speech in 2016 in a blog post last week. Read more here.

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  • Wall Street Journal Editorial: Firing of LSU professor for Sexual Harassment Raises Free Speech Concerns at Colleges Across U.S.

    February 21, 2016

    By Staff at The Advocate The firing of an LSU professor for using profanity and vulgar language in class has prompted a national discussion on sexual harassment and free speech at colleges and universities, an advocate opined in the Wall Street Journal. Read more here.

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  • How the Sex-Harassment Cops Became Speech Police

    February 19, 2016

    By Will Creeley at The Wall Street Journal If you care about free speech on campus, watch closely the First Amendment case of Teresa Buchanan. Read more here.

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  • FIRE Ranks the 10 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    February 18, 2016

    By Chris Nuelle at Campus Reform The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), recently released its annual list of universities that are notoriously bad for freedom of speech for 2016. Read more here.

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  • Two Oklahoma Universities Make List of 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech

    February 18, 2016

    By Dallas Franklin at KFor.com OKLAHOMA – Two universities in Oklahoma recently made the list for the 10 worst colleges for free speech. Read more here.

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  • University of Tulsa, OU Make List of Worst Colleges for Free Speech

    February 17, 2016

    By Staff at News On 6 The University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma have made a list of the ten worst colleges for free speech. Read more here.

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  • LSU Named One of the Worst Colleges in U.S. for Free Speech

    February 17, 2016

    By Jed Lipinski at NOLA.com The Foundation for Individuals Rights in Education has named Louisiana State University one of the 10 worst colleges in the United States for free speech. The ranking comes less than a month after former LSU professor Teresa Buchanan sued the university over her First Amendment and due process rights. Read more here.

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  • FIRE Unveils This Year’s List of Worst Colleges for Free Speech

    February 17, 2016

    By Leah Barkoukis at TownHall.com As high school juniors across the country begin the college search process, there’s no doubt school ranking, academic programs, and cost are all important factors in the decision-making process. But students (and their parents who likely foot most of the bill) ought to be mindful of one other aspect when considering which college or university is the best fit for them: free speech on campus. Read more here.

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  • LSU Named a Top 10 ‘Worst Abusers of … Free Speech,’ Largely Because of Professor Firing

    February 17, 2016

    By Elizabeth Crisp at The Advocate  A group that advocates for free speech on college campuses has named LSU to its list of worst offenders this year, following the firing of a professor who used profanity in class. Read more here.

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  • Hard to Say

    January 30, 2016

    By Staff at The Economist WHEN Louisiana State University fired a professor in June 2015 for using rude words in a class designed to prepare teachers for careers in inner-city schools, it was an early skirmish in a conflict between students (one of whom had complained) and faculties over free speech that has since spread across the land. The university’s faculty is now considering something that others in the same position have done: copying the University of Chicago. … Read more here.

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  • LSU Prof Teresa Buchanan Fired For Profanity, Abuse Of Students, Sues University

    January 27, 2016

    By Sierra Jones at The Global Dispatch A Louisiana State University professor who was fired for using swear words and making sex jokes in front of students is now suing the administration. … Read more here.

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  • Professor Fired for Cussing Sues Louisiana State for Saying She Sexually Harassed Students

    January 25, 2016

    By Madison Iszler at The College Fix A Louisiana State University professor who was fired for using swear words and making sex jokes in front of students is suing the administration. Read more here.

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  • LSU Prof Fired for ‘Inappropriate Comments,’ KSU Prof Keeps Job Despite ISIS Investigation

    January 22, 2016

    By Anthony Gockowski at Campus Reform A former Louisiana State University (LSU) professor filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the president of LSU and other ranking administrators for violating her free speech and due process rights when she was fired last year. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is sponsoring Professor Teresa Buchanan’s lawsuit, which is the eleventh in FIRE’s undefeated “Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.” … Read more here.

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  • LSU Professor’s Lawsuit Could Undermine Major Obama Title IX Policy

    January 22, 2016

    By Blake Neff at The Daily Caller A fired Louisiana State University (LSU) professor has filed a lawsuit that could gut the Obama administration’s guidelines on what constitutes campus sexual harassment. Read more here.

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  • Professor Says She Was Fired Unconstitutionally For Cursing

    January 22, 2016

    By Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post A former professor says she might still have her job if it weren’t for the U.S. Department of Education’s overly broad take on what constitutes sexual harassment. Read more here.

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  • Fired Professor Sues, Citing Freedom Speech

    January 22, 2016

    By Ashe Schow at The Washington Examiner Louisiana State University professor Teresa Buchanan was fired for … well, we don’t know exactly. Read more here.

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  • LSU Professor Fired for Using Profanity Seeking Damages, Reinstatement; ‘I Don’t Regret Anything That I Did’

    January 21, 2016

    By Joe Gyan Jr. at The Advocate A former LSU associate professor fired last year for, among other things, using vulgar language in the classroom said Thursday she is seeking monetary damages and her reinstatement in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university. … Read more here.

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  • LSU Defends Firing of Associate Professor as Faculty Senate Takes Up Resolution Asking Officials to Reverse Decision

    January 21, 2016

    By Steve Sanoski at Business Report LSU has released what it says will be its final public statement on the June 19 firing of Associate Professor Teresa Buchanan, defending the controversial move as the LSU Faculty Senate prepares to take up a resolution this afternoon that asks LSU to reverse its decision. … Read more here.  

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  • Fired LSU Prof Sues Over Obama-Approved Speech Code

    January 21, 2016

    By Douglas Ernst at WND.com A fired professor has filed a federal lawsuit against Louisiana State University and administrators that traces back to arbitrarily changes in court-approved sex-assault standards by former Attorney General Eric Holder. … Read more here.

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  • Fired LSU Professor Sues School Over Free Speech, Profanity

    January 21, 2016

    By Jed Lipinski at NOLA.com Former associate professor Teresa Buchanan is suing Louisiana State University and top administrators in federal court, alleging that they violated her free speech and due process rights in firing her. Buchanan, who taught education, was dismissed in June for reportedly using profanity and telling sexually themed jokes to her undergraduate students, producing what administrators called a “hostile learning environment.” … Read more here.  

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  • How Sexual Harassment Codes Threaten Academic Freedom

    October 23, 2015

    By Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason.com In its zeal to spread “gender justice,” the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) threatens to stifle academic freedom and infantilize women, says feminist legal expert and New York Law School Professor Nadine Strossen. At a recent talk at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, the former American Civil Liberties Union head warned that current campus policies to curb sexual harassment are overbroad and dangerous. And while “safety”-mongering students deserve some of the blame, bureaucrats are the biggest progenitors of this paranoid style in American academia. “By threatening to pull […]

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  • Student Newspaper Says ’Emotional Injury’ Justifies the Squelching of Unpopular Speech

    October 23, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix  The fall term just started and student newspapers across the country are already reeling from actions that threaten their ability to publish controversial and unpopular speech. We’ve covered several here, particularly the kerfuffle that Wesleyan University’s Bryan Stascavage provoked when he wrote a (mildly) critical column about the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundreds of Argus copies were stolen, its staffers (including Iraq war veteran Stascavage) intimidated by activists, and its funding source potentially threatened by the student government. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education offers this rundown of the year so far: Brown University’s Daily Herald apologized […]

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  • Fired for Being Profane

    September 2, 2015

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed After 18 years of service, 24 peer-reviewed articles and the creation of a new-teacher education program, Teresa Buchanan was sailing toward promotion to full professor of education at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. Did a few swear words and sex jokes really derail her career? That’s what the American Association of University Professors alleges in a report out today. The report makes it unlikely that the university, which earlier this year was close to moving off AAUP’s censure list for past concerns about its commitment to academic freedom, will do so anytime soon. But […]

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  • It’s No Laughing Matter: Campuses Have Become Intolerant

    August 17, 2015

    By Clark Conner at The John William Pope Center Millennials can be a hypersensitive bunch and nowhere is this more apparent than in the academy. American institutions of higher learning have become veritable minefields of trigger warnings, safe zones, and speech codes. It appears we can add another line item to the growing list of things too radical for college students: humor. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld recently joined an expanding group of high-profile figures in denouncing higher education’s culture of hyper-sensitivity. In an interview with ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, Seinfeld discussed why comics are reluctant to take their act on campus: […]

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  • Professor Fired For Using Profanity, Sexual Humor In The Classroom

    July 2, 2015

    By Meghan Keenan at Red Alert Politics A professor at Louisiana State University was recently fired after a 20-year career at the university for using profanity and sexual humor in the classroom. Teresa Buchanan, a tenured professor of elementary education, was officially terminated on June 19 after a lengthy investigation by the university. Buchanan has said she is the victim of a “witch hunt,” and is planning to fight back. On December 20, 2013, Professor Buchanan received a memo from the Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Education, stating that she had been removed from teaching duties pending […]

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  • This Professor Was Fired for Saying ‘Fuck No’ in Class

    July 1, 2015

    By Michelle Goldberg at The Nation Last fall, David Samuel Levinson, the author, most recently, of the literary thriller Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence, taught a course called “Introduction to Fiction” at Emory University, part of a two-year fellowship he’d been awarded there. Blunt and scabrous, he prides himself on being frank with his students. “My class is like a truth-telling, soothsaying class, and I tell them no one is going to talk to you like this, you will never have another class like this,” he says. One student, he says, a freshman woman, sat besides him throughout the course, […]

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  • Political Correctness Invades LSU: Professor Fired For Using Profanity And Sex Jokes In The Classroom

    July 1, 2015

    By Kevin Boyd at The Hayride LSU has fired an education professor for using profanity and telling sex jokes in the classroom. Teresa Buchanan was fired for “creating a hostile learning environment.” The Advocate has the details of the case.  A faculty committee that reviewed her case gave a few “notable” examples: Saying “F*** no” repeatedly in the presence of students, using a slang term for vagina that implies cowardice and telling a joke that the quality of sex gets worse the longer a relationship lasts. Teresa Buchanan, who specializes in early childhood education and trains elementary school teachers, is fighting […]

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  • LSU Prof Fired for Telling Jokes Is Latest Victim of College Anti-Sex Hysteria

    June 30, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online Associate Professor Teresa Buchanan liked to keep her students entertained. She wasn’t against using humor—and occasionally, profanity—to make sure students were paying attention during the education classes she taught at Louisiana State University. “If the curriculum is fucking awful, I might say that it is,” said Buchanan in an interview with Reason. “I’m not teaching Sunday school.” She also jokingly told some of her female students that that they shouldn’t expect their boyfriends to keep helping them out with their coursework after the sex gets stale. University administrators, unfortunately, are not known for appreciating […]

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  • LSU’s ‘Free Speech’ Zones Raise A Disturbing Question: Are We Losing The War?

    September 10, 2013

    This fall I will celebrate 12 years defending the basic rights of students on college campuses across the country, and in that time my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has had some great successes. But while we win battle after battle, sometimes I fear we are losing the war. Time and time again I see examples of how campuses are teaching a generation, primarily through example, how to think like censors and how to apply all the wrong lessons about what it means to live in a free society. In fact, we even have a term for it […]

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  • Coaches blow whistle on athlete indiscretions on networking sites

    July 16, 2006

    Before DeMarcus Dobbs plays a game at Georgia, we know this much: He has 271 friends. He was at Whitney’s for a party over Memorial Day weekend. (But he doesn’t drink or smoke.) He broke Jake the Snake’s nose. (But it was Justin’s fault.) He has a girl named Anna who will always love him despite the paint handprint he put on her shirt. And he’d better bring his money next time he sees Bobby “cuz it’s on.” Welcome to the online social networking/self-profiling world of MySpace.com, Facebook.com and dozens of similar Internet sites.   That emerging world has started […]

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  • College Athletes Caught in Tangled Web

    May 24, 2006

    Four San Diego State students recently logged on to a computer and did what thousands of other college students do these days during their spare time. They were having fun on MySpace.com, posting personal party pictures and commentaries about life in college. Some included references to drinking alcoholic beverages and snide remarks about recent soccer practices, according to a student colleague of the four. But because the four students were athletes – in this case women’s soccer players – they suffered a penalty for it. When they didn’t heed their coach’s warning to stop posting on the site, they were […]

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  • Speech codes choke off discourse, satire

    April 6, 2006

    Higher-education institutions are no longer havens for free intellectual discussion and open debate. Since public universities have lost nearly every court battle over clearly identified speech codes, administrators have developed stealthier ways to regulate unwanted speech. These covert speech codes are hidden in university handbooks under seemingly harmless provisions such as e-mail guidelines, diversity statements and harassment policies. Even though these policies aren’t identified as “speech codes,” university administrators are still able to use them to repress unpopular opinions, censor parodies, hinder political speech and restrict academic freedom. Some people may be surprised that there is no right to not […]

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  • Campus Left to Christians, Conservatives: Shut Up!

    December 24, 2005

    By Mark Tapscott at Townhall.com Scratch many of the administrators in charge on American campuses these days and you often find a neo-Stalinist who has no hesitation about suppressing views that deviate from leftist orthodoxy. If you doubt me, try supporting Christianity or conservatism in a public way in the ivy covered groves of American academe. Take California State University at San Bernadino, for example, where administrators refuse to charter the Christian Students Association because the group thinks its members should be professing Christians. Imagine that! The group ‘would not be required to admit members who did not support the […]

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  • Group Challenges University Policies

    June 30, 2005

    By Rebekah Allen at The Daily Reveille The Foundation for Individual Rights for Education (FIRE) designated LSU a “red light” school in December of 2004 for ambiguous language used in school policies. FIRE was established in 1999 by Harvey A. Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors in order to “defend and sustain individual rights at America’s increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities,” according to FIRE’s website. The organization concentrates on “freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience – the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity.” A “red light” designation means the University has […]

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  • Liberating America’s Intellectual Gulags

    April 15, 2005

    David French knows what intimidation is. French, the new President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, graduated from Harvard Law School in the early 1990s. One might say that anyone with similar credentials ought to know the definition of intimidation – but French’s experience is a bit more personal than that.“As a pro-life, Christian conservative, I received death threats in my campus mailbox, was shouted down by students and (once) was even shouted down in class by my own professor,” he says about his years in Cambridge. French now spends much of his time explaining to university general […]

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  • Louisiana State University’s Faculty Senate Adopts Chicago Statement

    February 23, 2016

    Louisiana State University’s (LSU’s) faculty senate adopted a resolution yesterday affirming its commitment to free speech on campus. The group’s vote makes LSU the tenth institution at which faculty or administrators have formally endorsed the University of Chicago’s policy statement on freedom of expression, which FIRE has promoted as the gold standard for speech policy statements in higher education. LSU’s faculty senate has acted at a particularly tenuous moment for free speech at LSU, having first introduced the resolution late last month, on the same day former LSU professor Teresa Buchanan announced her FIRE-sponsored Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project […]

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  • FIRE’s Will Creeley in ‘The Wall Street Journal’: How the Sexual Harassment Cops Became Speech Police

    February 20, 2016

    In this weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, FIRE’s Will Creeley explains why those of us who care about free speech on campus should watch closely Teresa Buchanan’s recently filed civil rights lawsuit against Louisiana State University (LSU). Buchanan’s lawsuit against LSU, filed last month with FIRE’s help, followed her firing over her alleged occasional use of profanity and sexual language in preparing her adult students to be effective teachers. Buchanan, a tenured associate professor teaching in LSU’s acclaimed teacher certification program, was charged with violating the university’s sexual harassment policy—which, importantly, mirrors the language of the sexual harassment […]

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  • FIRE Announces 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2016

    February 17, 2016

    PHILADELPHIA, February 17, 2016—Nearly half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the past year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech rights. This year’s list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech—published with detailed descriptions at The Huffington Post—includes many public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. Some of them, on the other hand, are private colleges that, though not required by the Constitution […]

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  • Teresa Buchanan Uncensored: How an Innovative Educator Created Top Teachers and Got Fired for It

    January 22, 2016

    Teresa Buchanan meant business. It was 2002, and as one of the nation’s top early childhood education scholars at Louisiana State University (LSU), Buchanan had been tasked with starting a program for student teachers. One of its goals was to prepare LSU undergraduates to help fix Louisiana’s failing public school system. It was a job Buchanan knew would take time away from the research she most loved. But as she explained to FIRE on a recent afternoon, she stepped up. After all, she said, “I’m passionate about good teaching.” That passion would produce one of the country’s most innovative early […]

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  • On Day of FIRE Lawsuit, LSU Faculty Introduce Resolution to Adopt ‘Chicago Principles’

    January 21, 2016

    On the heels of the announcement this morning of a FIRE-sponsored lawsuit by fired Louisiana State University (LSU) professor Teresa Buchanan against top LSU administrators, the LSU Faculty Senate will introduce a resolution to adopt a version of the “Chicago Principles” affirming the faculty’s commitment to free speech. The resolution will be introduced this afternoon at the senate’s regularly scheduled meeting, at 3 p.m. CST in the LSU student union. A full vote on the motion will take place on February 22. If passed, the resolution would represent the Faculty Senate’s strongest statement to date on the centrality of academic […]

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  • Fired LSU Professor Files First Amendment Lawsuit Challenging Speech Code Championed by Feds

    January 21, 2016

    LSU claimed professor’s teaching methods violated sexual harassment policy that mirrors “blueprint” language proposed by U.S. Depts of Education, Justice “LSU said I offended some people, called it sexual harassment, and fired me.” Civil liberties advocates warned the policy threatened free speech on campus Professor asks court to strike down LSU policy as unconstitutional, reverse firing BATON ROUGE, La., January 21, 2016—Late yesterday, education professor Teresa Buchanan filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the president of Louisiana State University (LSU) and other top administrators for violating her free speech and due process rights by firing her last year. The […]

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  • University Training Programs Can Misinform, Fail to Protect

    December 30, 2015

    2015 has been a landmark year for student activism, including for those demanding more attention be paid to the issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. Although this activism has helped shine light on an important issue, many of the responses by universities have undermined students’ rights in critical ways. While FIRE has written extensively this year about the lack of due process in campus disciplinary proceedings, there is another aspect of universities’ responses that we want to call attention to: mandatory “orientations” and “training programs” that freshmen are often required to take in order to register for […]

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  • It’s Already Been a Remarkably Bad Year for Student Press

    October 21, 2015

    Many student journalists are being taught an unfortunate lesson by college administrators and their fellow students lately: Don’t publish anything that might offend anyone. That this advice is antithetical to a free press, and that journalists cannot be held responsible for how their readers react to opinions they publish, doesn’t seem to matter all that much to the people demanding they be censored. These themes have played out at a number of colleges and universities recently. Wesleyan University As you have probably heard by now, student newspaper The Wesleyan Argus faced a petition last month calling for its defunding and […]

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  • LSU Law Center’s Diversity Task Force Mulls Prior Restraint, Administrative Oversight of Student Newspaper

    October 12, 2015

    Louisiana State University’s (LSU’s) Law Center is weighing measures to improve “quantitative and qualitative diversity” amongst its student body, The College Fix reports. One suggestion posed by the university’s Diversity Task Force: ridding themselves of the free press. In a report submitted to the law school late last month, the task force—selected last year by former Law Center chancellor and dean Jack Weiss and “comprised of faculty, students, alumni and community leaders”—makes more than a dozen recommendations for administrators and faculty to increase campus diversity. The most alarming of these proposals is the suggestion that the law school’s newspaper, The […]

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  • Faculty Senate Censures LSU President for Firing Tenured Professor

    October 8, 2015

    This past June, Louisiana State University (LSU) President F. King Alexander fired tenured associate professor Teresa Buchanan for sexual harassment, ignoring a faculty panel that unanimously recommended that she keep her job. As has been reported here on The Torch and elsewhere, Professor Buchanan’s transgression (if one can call it that) was to occasionally use vulgar language in class. She gave unvarnished feedback to students, which prompted a few complaints about her tone in student evaluations. And one student took personally remarks Professor Buchanan made in class that students’ significant others become increasingly less willing to make allowances for the […]

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  • AAUP Censures Louisiana State Over Buchanan Case, Prompting LSU to Play Dirty

    September 3, 2015

    When I took employment law in law school, the professor warned us on the first day that personnel disputes would be among the most vicious we would encounter as lawyers because they are, by definition, personal. Louisiana State University has proved my professor’s point by launching a series of attacks against Professor Teresa Buchanan, who, in spite of having tenure, was fired from the university in June 2015 on the flimsiest of grounds: Her use of profanity constituted sexual harassment. LSU’s action was absurd and, as it is discovering, indefensible. Yesterday, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a […]

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  • Firing of LSU Professor Who Used Profanity in the Classroom Raises Concerns

    June 30, 2015

    Last week, Louisiana State University (LSU) associate professor Teresa Buchanan learned that she was fired from LSU as a result of what she’s calling a “witch hunt.” In April, a faculty review committee ruled on Buchanan’s use of curse words and sex-themed jokes, recommending corrective action but unanimously voting against her firing. LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander ignored the committee’s advice and took the situation further by asking LSU’s Board of Supervisors to fire Buchanan. Buchanan appealed to LSU’s Board of Supervisors, citing her satisfactory performance reviews and arguing that her use of profanity in the classroom did […]

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  • Greg Lukianoff on LSU Student’s Hostility Toward Free Expression

    September 10, 2013

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff writes for Forbes today to discuss a video and companion piece recently posted by Louisiana State University student Jana King, who laments LSU’s recent revision of a policy that restricted student speech to a 1,000 square foot area on campus called “Free Speech Alley.” As Lukianoff explains, King’s support for abridging students’ constitutionally protected speech is all too common, but it is rare that advocacy for censorship takes such a straightforward and undisguised form. [King] state[s] clearly that [she] think[s] basic political speech could be harassment and possibly deny her a “safe learning environment.” When I […]

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  • Demonstrators at UCF and LSU Enjoy Free Speech on Campus

    September 10, 2013

    The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Louisiana State University (LSU) have both recently made positive changes with respect to free speech zones on their campuses, and student journalists are emphasizing the importance of free expression. Adam Rhodes wrote last week for the Central Florida Future, UCF’s student newspaper, to celebrate the university’s acceptance of demonstrations and counter-protests on campus. The university has even created a website clearly stating its policies (PDF)—“Use Your Voice @ UCF”—and emphasizes that students and faculty may use outdoor space for demonstrations and other expressive activities as long as their speech does not disrupt classes, […]

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  • LSU Ends ‘Free Speech Alley’

    July 5, 2013

    Last November, FIRE’s Azhar Majeed reported on a Louisiana State University (LSU) policy that restricted student expression to a 1,000 square foot area on campus called “Free Speech Alley.” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit, Candler v. Jenkins, over the rights of a student to hand out pro-life literature in areas of campus outside of Free Speech Alley, and, indeed, without prior approval from school administrators. Thankfully, LSU has now reaffirmed those rights and revised its policies in order to protect students’ speech. As Torch readers know, restrictive speech codes like this one are nothing new; FIRE has dealt […]

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  • LSU Blows $1 Million on Losing Fight against Professor It Fired over Katrina Comments

    April 5, 2013

    In February, Louisiana State University and former LSU engineering professor Ivor van Heerden reached a settlement agreement ending van Heerden’s wrongful termination suit against the school. Van Heerden had been fired after publicly stating that mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers contributed to the failure of levees during Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune is now reporting some of the costs to LSU: The university and state officials provided [a group called Levees.org] with documents indicating that LSU paid van Heerden $435,000 in February, after U.S. District Judge James Brady approved an order dismissing van Heerden’s three-year-old lawsuit […]

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  • LSU Settles First Amendment Suit With Professor Terminated After Katrina Comments

    February 13, 2013

    The Louisiana-based publication The Advocate is reporting that Louisiana State University and former LSU engineering professor Ivor van Heerden have reached a settlement in the wrongful termination suit the former professor brought against LSU in February 2010. Van Heerden had been publicly critical of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its responsibility for the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. Van Heerden alleged that he had been marginalized and ultimately terminated by LSU as a result. As we reported here on The Torch, District Court Judge James J. Brady allowed van Heerden’s suit to proceed in 2011, declining LSU’s request for […]

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  • LSU Sued by Student, ADF over Free Speech Zone

    November 5, 2012

    The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is suing Louisiana State University (LSU) on behalf of an LSU student over the university’s maintenance of a “free speech zone” restricting student campus expression. According to ADF, LSU prohibits students from distributing written materials anywhere on campus except for a solitary “Free Speech Alley,” which only comprises approximately 1,000 square feet of the public university’s 650-acre campus. This represents less than one percent of the campus. The lawsuit, Candler v. Jenkins, concerns the right of a student to pass out pro-life literature in other, open areas of campus. The student was not only told […]

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  • AAUP Censures Louisiana State for Firing Professor Who Spoke Out about Hurricane Katrina

    June 22, 2012

    In January, FIRE’s Andrew Kloster wrote about Professor Ivor van Heerden’s lawsuit against Louisiana State University, which has been successful so far: In October, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ruled in favor of Ivor van Heerden, an engineering professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) who claims he was fired as a result of comments he made that were critical of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their design and construction of the levees that broke following Hurricane Katrina. FIRE has written about this case before. When LSU filed a motion for summary judgment, […]

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  • Federal District Court in Louisiana Reaffirms Academic Exception to ‘Garcetti’

    October 27, 2011

    As reported by the The Chronicle of Higher Education, a scientist alleging that Louisiana State University fired him due to comments he made as a private citizen has been allowed to proceed with his First Amendment retaliation suit. The ruling of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana against LSU’s summary judgment motion can be found here (.pdf). Professors Eugene Volokh and Paul Horwitz have already commented on the case, here and here. Ivor van Heerden, an engineer for LSU at the Louisiana Geological Survey and the College of Engineering, had publicly criticized the U.S. Army […]

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  • LSU Chancellor Speaks Out on Flag Burning Protest

    May 17, 2011

    Last week, Louisiana State University (LSU) graduate student Benjamin Haas expressed his intention to burn an American flag at the university’s Parade Grounds to protest the treatment of Isaac Eslava, who was arrested after stealing and burning an American flag flown over a campus war memorial. Correctly, the university respected Haas’ First Amendment rights and did not seek to block his protest. However, after failing to obtain the necessary burn permits, Haas was forced to change his plan and read a statement instead. A counter-protest was organized by students in response, and Haas was met by a large crowd opposing […]

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  • Free Speech Suffers a Near-Miss at LSU

    February 9, 2006

    Louisiana State University (LSU) has dropped all charges against senior Collins Phillips, who had been accused of violating the student code of conduct for criticizing the university. As an article in Baton Rouge’s The Advocate explains, at a January 3 meeting of the Student Equality Commission (SEC), Phillips, who last year protested displays of the confederate flag at LSU tailgate parties, called LSU administrators “lazy” for offering too few events for Black History Month, and criticized LSU’s delinquency in operating the African American Cultural Center. Instead of listening to criticism from the students for whom she supposedly works, Vice President […]

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  • Religious Liberty and Free Association at LSU: Not a ‘Conservative’ Concern

    March 17, 2005

    Today, FIRE announces a victory for freedom of religion and association at Louisiana State University, where the Muslim Students Association (MSA) recently attained official recognition. The group, which had already been recognized for 30 some years on campus, was unable to re-register for more than a year because it didn’t want to include additional “nondiscrimination” language in its constitution as prescribed by a new university policy. (See “Is ‘Derecognize’ a Word?” for more information about the significance of student organization recognition on campus.) According to students, in 2003 the university began requiring student organizations to explicitly add “religion” and “sexual […]

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  • Victory for Religious Freedom at Louisiana State University

    March 17, 2005

    BATON ROUGE, La., March 17, 2005—Louisiana State University (LSU) has granted official recognition to the Muslim Students Association (MSA) after the group was denied recognition for a year and a half for refusing to accept limits on its rights to religious liberty and free association. LSU initially denied the MSA official recognition when the group declined to include “nondiscrimination” language in its constitution that was inconsistent with its expressive purpose. After the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened, LSU reaffirmed its commitment to the First Amendment rights of its students and recognized the MSA. “This is welcome news […]

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