Purdue University

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Website: http://www.purdue.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Thank Purdue University for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

Purdue 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.

  • Mohammed Cartoon Controversy: FIRE Response to Intimidation and Newspaper Disputes

    February 22, 2006

    As a result of worldwide controversy regarding caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, first published in a Danish newspaper, free speech was being openly disregarded on American college campuses. In the weeks following the printing of the cartoon, students, professors, and student publications not only reprinted the controversial cartoons but even created their own satirical cartoons depicting Mohammed. Chilling of speech in relation to the cartoon was found at Century College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and New York University, amongst others.

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  • Purdue University: Refusal to Allow Christian Women’s Group to Require Christian Membership

    November 4, 2003

    Purdue University nearly evicted a Christian women’s housing group on campus for refusing to abide by a “nondiscrimination” statement that required student groups not discriminate on the basis of a long list of characteristics, including religious belief, when selecting members. Any groups failing to abide by this policy could face the loss of rights and privileges on campus. As a Christian women’s group, the Stewart Cooperative could not agree to ignore matters of faith when choosing its members. When the group asked Purdue administrators whether their organization could be excused from these requirements, the students were told that there could […]

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Speech Code Memorandum for Purdue University

Yellow Light Policies
  • University Policies: Antiharassment Policy (III.C.1)

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    Conduct towards another person or identifiable group of persons that has the purpose or effect of:

    1. Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment, work environment or environment for participation in a University activity;
    2. Unreasonably interfering with a person’s educational environment, work environment or environment for participation in a University activity; or
    3. Unreasonably affecting a person’s educational or work opportunities or participation in a University activity.

    Use of the term Harassment includes all forms of harassment, including Stalking, Racial Harassment and Sexual Harassment.

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Green Light Policies
  • Office of the Dean of Students: Guidelines for Speech and Expression on Campus

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 26, 2017

    To facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas, the University has designated the areas on campus described below for peaceable assembly and the expression of ideas and opinions. These areas may be used for expressive activity by individuals and groups, including non-students and other campus guests. In addition to their high visibility and easy accessibility, these areas have been identified as places where demonstrations and other expressive activities are least likely to disrupt University activities and functions. Each of these areas may be used without permission from the University so long as the area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function, the expressive activity does not disrupt or obstruct University functions, and the participants do not violate other University policies. The designated areas include the following malls and all public spaces contiguous thereto:

    (a) Memorial Mall,
    (b) Stadium Mall,
    (c) Purdue Mall, and
    (d) Centennial Mall.

    Although it is not necessary for a person using one of these areas to obtain prior permission from the University, the University encourages such persons to contact the Office of Student Activities and Organizations in order to reserve or schedule the desired location in advance so as to minimize possible conflicts. Priority is given for use of specific locations by groups who register their assemblies with the University.

    Nothing in the foregoing shall be interpreted as limiting the right of student expression elsewhere on the campus so long as the expressive activity or related student conduct does not disrupt University activities and functions or violate any other applicable University policies. Obstructing building entrances, walkways, and rights-of-way; obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic on or adjacent to campus; or interfering with classes, meetings, events or ceremonies or with other essential processes of the University will generally be considered to be disruptive of University activities and functions.

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  • University Policies: Electronic Mail (VII.A.1)

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    [T]he following specific actions and uses of University E-mail Facilities are improper:

    5. Use of e-mail to harass or threaten others or threaten to cause physical harm or damage to property.

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  • University Policies: Antiharassment Policy (III.C.1)

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    The University reaffirms its commitment to freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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  • Student Regulations: Bill of Student Rights

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    It is the right of every student to exercise freely full rights as a citizen.

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  • Student Regulations: Bill of Student Rights

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    The student shall be free to discuss and express any view relevant to subject matter presented by the instructor or other class members. However, in exercising this freedom, the student shall not interfere with the academic process of the class by speaking to or behaving towards others in a manner constituting unwelcome, targeted conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the educational experience of those to whom the speech or behavior is targeted, that the targeted person is effectively denied equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities.

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  • Statement of Commitment to Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    Because Purdue University (the “University”) is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community “to discuss,” in the words of former University of Chicago President Robert M. Hutchins, “any problem that presents itself.”

    Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

    In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation 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. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

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  • University Policies: Violent Behavior (IV.A.3)

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: April 3, 2018

    Threat: A serious expression of intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals or to cause damage to another person’s property, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health and safety of another person or another person’s property.

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  • Campus Due Process In The Courts

    February 1, 2017

    By KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor at The Washington Post About one new due process lawsuit per week was filed last year against a college by a student who had been found guilty of sexual assault by a campus tribunal, despite what the lawsuits claim is strong evidence of innocence. This estimate comes from Samantha Harris, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). With the federal government, campus activists and many faculty members and administrators pressuring universities effectively to presume the guilt of accused students, that one-per-week rate has continued into 2017. The most recent lawsuit was filed […]

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  • Purdue Points the Way

    December 11, 2016

    By Staff at The News-Gazette Free speech is a problem on today’s college campuses… Read more here.

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  • Purdue’s Free-Speech Orientation Program Could Go National, Thanks to College Bureaucrat Group

    December 6, 2016

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Indiana’s Purdue University is making a strong play for best public university in the country, based on its demonstrated commitment to free speech… Read more here.

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  • Between Free Speech and an Inclusive Campus

    June 14, 2016

    By Ellen Wexler at Inside Higher Ed When she returned to Gettysburg College after winter break, Alissa Lopez helped design a series of anti-abortion posters… Read more here.

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  • University of Chicago Dumps Speech Codes, Earns Highest Rating From Free-Speech Group

    April 26, 2016

    By Staff at The College Fix It pioneered the faculty statement in favor of freedom of expression, and now the University of Chicago has earned a coveted green-light rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education… Read more here.

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  • Colleges Still Privileging Identity Politics Over Free Speech

    March 9, 2016

    By Allan C. Brownfeld at Communities Digital News WASHINGTON, March 9, 2016 — American colleges and universities are eager to embrace differences in race, ethnic background, religion, and sexual orientation, as they should. But for them, that’s where diversity ends. When it comes to the free expression of ideas, they think diversity is a dirty word. Read more here.

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  • Trustee: Attack on Daniels by Prof is Political

    February 29, 2016

    By JoAnn Brouilette at Journal & Courier As Professor David Sanders’ regular attacks on President Mitch Daniels and Purdue’s initiatives become increasingly personal and malicious, it is time for a response and some perspective ( “Where Purdue, Daniels failed on free speech,” J&C, Feb. 28). Read more here.

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  • Speaking Freely at UNH: No Speech Codes on Campus

    December 27, 2015

    By Staff at Union Leader Should the University System of New Hampshire challenge students, and expose them to controversial and sometimes uncomfortable ideas? Or should it give these vulnerable young adults a safe space, free from potentially offensive speech? That depends on whether or not the university system expects its students to learn anything. Columnist George Will recently highlighted efforts by Purdue University to promote free speech on its campus. A freshman New Hampshire lawmaker is hoping to do the same here. Republican Frank Edelblut, who is also running for governor, has introduced a bill based on model legislation from […]

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  • Two Cultures?

    December 21, 2015

    By Jane S. Shaw at National Review In his latest column, George Will alerts us to the progress in free speech made by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and identifies a dangerous cultural divide in academia today. Will’s version of the two cultures argument (pace C. P. Snow) is that engineering schools and departments are more likely to breed rational people who respect truth. Praising Purdue University for adopting the University of Chicago statement of free-speech principles, he says that “freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in […]

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  • Higher Education is a House Divided

    December 17, 2015

    By George F. Will at The News Journal Online Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality. While in high school in Bowling Green, Ohio, Zeller completed three years of college undergraduate courses. […]

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  • New Threat to Campus Speech: Department of Education’s Plans for Racial Harassment, Report Says

    December 11, 2015

    By Peter Maxwell at The College Fix Fear that agency’s guidance could ‘parallel’ broad sexual-harassment rules Despite a plunge this year in the number of universities with severe restrictions on free speech, new threats are on the horizon thanks to outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent statements on racial issues, according to a new report. For the first time since the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education started tracking speech codes on college campuses, less than half of American colleges it has rated maintain “red light” policies, FIRE’s annual “Spotlight” report said. Between September 2014 and September 2015, FIRE downgraded 10 universities […]

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  • Report: Campus Free Speech Might Be Spreading, But the Federal Government Wants to Stop That

    December 10, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com Some good news and some bad news from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: the number of college campuses maintaining restrictions on speech has decreased for an eighth consecutive year, but the Education Department’s guidance on sexual harassment continues to pose a significant threat to free expression. According to FIRE’s 2016 report on “The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,” just 49.3 percent of American universities maintain severely unconstitutional speech codes. This is the first time in FIRE’s 16-year history that statistic has dipped below 50 percent. Additionally, six universities eliminated speech […]

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  • Speech Crimes on Campus

    December 9, 2015

    By Staff at The Wall Street Journal The student censors at Yale claimed a scalp—pardon the micro-aggression—this week when lecturer Erika Christakis resigned her teaching position on childhood education. She had been pilloried for asking in an email if students weren’t too sensitive if they are offended by politically incorrect Halloween costumes. Yale’s powers-that-be ducked and covered in response, but the news on campus isn’t all bad, according to a forthcoming report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire). The foundation’s annual survey of 440 colleges—comprising 336 four-year public and 104 private institutions—finds that the share of schools maintaining […]

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  • How to Rescue Free Speech in American Academia

    November 25, 2015

    By Nat Hentoff at Cato.org In last week’s column, I described how the national anti-free speech movement poses an imminent threat to freedom of expression in American academia. Those advocating for the anti-free speech movement attempt to interpret the “language of free speech” to their advantage so that it applies only to them, but not to others. Their analysis often cites Title IX’s antidiscrimination provisions and accuses free speech advocates of using “weaponized words” to silence anti-racism protestors, but invariably ignores the long history of court decisions that have repeatedly applied First Amendment protections to offensive speech at public universities. […]

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  • Yale Vs. Princeton: The Battle For Free Speech On Campus

    November 13, 2015

    By Karin Agness at Forbes Yale and Princeton will square off on the gridiron on Saturday. While the schools are tied in the Ivy League football standings, it is becoming clear that the Tigers are winning when it comes to free speech on campus. Yale is in the national spotlight this week as campus protests and confrontations there heat up highlighting a national trend of students stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus. At issue in New Haven is an email sent out by The Intercultural Affairs Committee on Halloween costume guidelines to discourage students from […]

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  • Free Speech on Campus at Risk

    November 3, 2015

    By Staff at The Virginia Gazette  Open debate or ideological conformity? This question is among the free speech issues facing institutions of higher learning nationwide, including William & Mary. To address this topic, the Society for the College, an independent non-profit alumni organization and the SFTC Student Association has engaged speaker Catherine Sevcenko, noted authority on legal issues affecting student rights, to discuss how W&M students can defend the first amendment and academic freedom on campus. Sevcenko, associate director of litigation at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, will also present some wide legal challenges affecting free speech and academic […]

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  • ‘Chicago Statement’ is a Policy U.S. Universities Should Heed

    October 29, 2015

    By The Oklahoman Editorial Board at The Oklahoman THERE are many reasons for the unlikely ascension of Donald Trump and Ben Carson to the top of the GOP presidential polls, but one of the reasons surely is this: their willingness to speak out against political correctness. A Rasmussen survey conducted in late August found that 71 percent of Americans think political correctness is a problem in our country, while only 18 percent say it’s not. Perhaps nowhere is the problem more acute than in the realm of higher education, with its freedom-restricting “speech codes” and its various “trigger warnings” designed to protect […]

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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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  • Another University Gets ‘Green Light’ for First Amendment-Friendly Campus

    May 29, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow An Indiana university has become the latest educational institution to earn a “green light” rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. With help from FIRE, Purdue University has earned the “green light” rating by revising its speech policies so that they comply with the First Amendment. Azhar Majeed of FIRE says the process started with students contacting the Foundation for help. FIRE then provided free-speech information to the students, who worked with student government and university officials. Majeed says it’s important to teach students their free speech rights because they […]

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  • Purdue Adopts ‘Chicago Principles’ to Protect Free Speech

    May 23, 2015

    By Tribune Wire Reports at Chicago Tribune A new policy at Purdue University stresses its commitment to free speech regardless of how “unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive” the language is. Trustees this month approved a policy modeled on free speech principles first approved by the University of Chicago in January. The move makes Purdue the first public university to adopt the measure, which also is in place at Princeton University. The “Chicago principles” arose from a string of events that tested universities’ commitment to open discourse, according to a report by University of Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression. […]

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  • UNLV’s First Amendment Ranking Improves

    May 22, 2015

    By Editorial at Las Vegas Review Journal Nevada’s underperforming K-12 schools aren’t the only campuses stuck with low ratings. Higher education has its problems, too, particularly when it comes to free speech at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno. Since 1999, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has been rating hundreds of public and private colleges based on their commitment to free speech, using red, yellow and green lights. (Think of a traffic signal controlling the flow of expression.) For years, both UNLV and UNR had been stuck on a red-light rating with […]

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  • Mitch Daniels Wasn’t Kidding About Free Speech on Campus

    May 19, 2015

    By Matt Welch at Reason Online In my interview with former Indiana governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, we had the following exchange on the always-contentious topic of campus free speech: REASON: For those of us who don’t spend a lot of time on college campuses and get our information through oftentimes partisan media, it can seem like it’s just a hellbroth of micro-triggering and people in free-speech cages over in a corner. What’s your assessment of the climate of free speech on campus nationwide, and at Purdue? Is it as bad as some of us suspect? Mitch Daniels: In […]

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  • 3 Things to Know: Purdue’s Free Speech Policy

    May 18, 2015

    By Joseph Paul at Journal & Courier On a weekend overshadowed by graduation ceremonies and tuition freezes, Purdue University adopted a new free speech code modeled on the“Chicago principles” of free speech. The “Commitment to Freedom of Expression,” a policy adopted Friday by the Purdue University Board of Trustees, permits speech that’s “unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive” — language that’s identical to a measure first approved by the University of Chicago in January. “Our commitment to open inquiry is not new, but adopting these principles provides a clear signal of our pledge to live by this commitment and these […]

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  • Team Mitch: Purdue Gets ‘Green Light’ Rating For Junking Speech Codes

    May 15, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, the onetime hope of conservative college students as a Republican presidential candidate (he never ran), has drawn raves for his various moves as president of Purdue University. Daniels secured another notch in his belt today: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education awarded the school a “green light” rating for its free-expression policies, after working with the school to totally eliminate its speech codes with Daniels’ support. Purdue also adopted an expansive academic-freedom statement similar to that of the University of Chicago, FIRE said. It’s only the 21st institution […]

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  • Purdue Takes A Stand For Free Speech, No Matter How Offensive Or Unwise

    May 15, 2015

    By Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post Purdue University has become the first public institution of higher education to adopt a free speech policy called the “Chicago principles,” condemning the suppression of views no matter how “offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed” they may be. The board of trustees passed a measure endorsing those principles on Friday. Purdue President Mitch Daniels plans to address some of the same points in his remarks at the Indiana university’s commencement ceremony this weekend. The Chicago principles were crafted and approved at the University of Chicago in January and has since been adopted by the […]

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  • Mitch Daniels responds to criticism over emails

    July 22, 2013

    by John Krull NUVO Mitch Daniels calls to express some concerns about a column I’d written about him, the late Howard Zinn and academic freedom. Daniels, former Indiana governor and current Purdue University president, tells me that the stories about an email exchange between him and his education advisors while he was the Hoosier state’s chief executive have been misrepresented. The emails questioned whether Indiana students should be taught Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. In the column, I criticized Daniels for attempting to squelch free speech and academic freedom. Now, as we talk in a civil and respectful fashion, […]

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  • Furor Over Anti-Gay Blog

    November 13, 2009

    Bert Chapman knows that his reason for opposing what he calls “the homosexual lifestyle” — that it differs from his view of Biblical norms — won’t win many arguments these days in the secular world. So Chapman, a blogger who is also a librarian at Purdue University, turned to economics. And at his Conservative Librarian blog, he argues that gay people are an economic drain. He cites the billions spent on fighting AIDS “without recognizing the morally aberrant sexual behavior … causing its spread” and the “sad practice” of colleges and other employers offering domestic partner benefits in a way […]

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  • Purdue professor’s blog post sparks debate

    November 12, 2009

    Remarks about gays spark debate about free speech at Purdue by Dan McFeely IndyStar.com   A Purdue University professor has landed in hot water with students protesting his personal blog — a conservative Web page on which he posted an “economic case against homosexuality.” Some have called for Bert Chapman to resign or be fired for his Oct. 27 posting, which laid out an argument that the cost for AIDS research and treatment should factor into the national debate over the acceptance of gays and lesbians. “The most concrete way to protect the university’s reputation against academic dishonesty and mediocrity […]

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  • Disciplinary processes will not change, despite recent events

    September 21, 2005

    In spite of recent publicity behind a suspended football player’s lawsuit against Purdue, a University official said he does not foresee any immediate changes to disciplinary processes for students.   Tony Hawkins, dean of students, said his office routinely reviews professional literature and significant court decisions relative to student conduct proceedings.   Should a decision by the courts suggest a revision in the University’s disciplinary process, Hawkins said his office would consult other officials and seek student, faculty and Board of Trustee approval.   However, the national coverage given to the lawsuit of Uche Nwaneri, suspended offensive lineman, claiming his […]

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  • Conformity on campus

    December 18, 2004

    This fall four new studies of professors’ political attitudes showed a large tilt to the left: • Daniel Klein, an economics professor and researcher at Santa Clara University and Stockholm University, surveyed more than 1,000 professors around the United States and found Democrats outnumbering Republicans at least 7-1 in the humanities and social sciences, with departments such as anthropology and sociology coming in at about 30-1. • In a separate study of voter registration records, Mr. Klein found professors at Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley tilted Democratic 9-1. Among younger professors at those two universities the imbalance was even […]

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  • The Good and The Bad (Plus Some Ugly)

    October 11, 2004

    Today’s college campus is a study in contrasts. Professors and administrators cling to their grotesque orthodoxies, but students seem to be getting saner by the year. What follows are five of the most outrageous campus incidents of the last academic year, then five of the most heartening acts of courage. The conservative-speaker double standard is almost an academic institution. At Bucknell University, administrators refused a student group’s request to invite Republican congressman and Senate hopeful Pat Toomey to give a speech, arguing that his appearance would violate a school policy against electioneering on campus. Meanwhile, Bucknell paid presidential candidate Ralph […]

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  • Organization fights University’s policy

    May 26, 2004

    By Brent Forgues at The Purdue Exponent The women’s Christian cooperative house at Purdue has been exempted from following the University’s non-discrimination policy. Kori Hurley, president of the board of directors of Stewart cooperative housing, said Purdue informed Stewart on Oct. 20 that they must add President Martin Jischke’s new non-discrimination clause, which prohibited discrimination on matters of faith and sexual orientation, by Nov. 21. “We immediately knew we would have a problem with it because of our faith,” she said. Stewart is one of a few student organizations with rules and doctrines rooted in the dogma of Christianity. “After […]

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  • Survey: many college students fuzzy on first amendment rights

    January 1, 2004

    PHILADELPHIA — One out of four college students in a nationwide survey was unable to name any of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, according to a free-speech watchdog group.“These survey results are disheartening, but they unfortunately are not surprising,” says Alan Charles Kors, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).Even among campus administrators who were surveyed, from presidents to assistant deans, 11 percent couldn’t name any specific First Amendment rights, the survey indicated. And when asked which freedom the amendment addresses first, only 2 percent of the students and 6 percent of the administrators […]

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  • Indiana court decision threatens professorial free speech

    November 17, 2017

    Last week, we covered a disturbing decision by the Court of Appeals of Indiana granting absolute immunity to college administrators who violated a professor’s free speech rights. Today we return to dissect the decision’s retaliation analysis — or lack thereof. Like the absolute immunity holding, the court’s flawed determination regarding a college’s retaliation policy opens the door for more censorship of professors on campus.   The decision concerns Purdue University’s finding that Professor Maurice Eisenstein was guilty of retaliation for comments he made to two professors who accused him of harassment and discrimination. Those charges were later proved unfounded as, […]

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  • Indiana court invokes absolute immunity in denying professor’s free speech claim  

    November 7, 2017

    In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeals of Indiana denied a professor’s free speech claim, holding that Purdue University administrators are absolutely immune from suit. The ruling sets a dangerous precedent for students and faculty seeking vindication for First Amendment violations in our nation’s courts. The court’s decision revolved around an extraordinary expansion of absolute immunity — a doctrine preventing parties from successfully suing government officials. Rooted in the medieval principle that the king may do no wrong and thus may not be sued without his consent, courts and legislatures have reshaped this concept to the realities of our […]

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  • Free Speech Orientation Program Keeps Conversation Going at Purdue

    December 5, 2016

    Purdue University has been making good on its promises to promote free speech on campus. In May of last year, it became the first public institution to formally commit to upholding free expression by adopting the FIRE-endorsed Chicago Statement, and it eliminated all of its speech-restrictive policies to become one of FIRE’s distinguished “green light” schools. Many universities might have declared a job well done and moved on. Not Purdue. Steven Schultz, Purdue’s chief legal counsel, said those sweeping changes instead marked the beginning of a larger, ongoing conversation about the role of free speech at the public university, which […]

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  • VIDEO: Geoffrey Stone, FIRE’s Azhar Majeed on Free Speech Panel at Purdue

    December 15, 2015

    Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Purdue University about free speech on campus and the new challenges facing student rights. I was joined on the panel by Geoffrey Stone, professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School and one of the foremost experts on constitutional law in the country. The event, which was put together by the Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG), led to a terrific discussion with students and other attendees about recent developments in campus expression, FIRE’s continuing efforts to protect student and faculty rights, and, of course, Purdue […]

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  • Purdue Admits ‘Overreaction’ in Snowden Censorship Gaffe

    October 9, 2015

    As the first public university in the country to adopt the University of Chicago’s robust statement on free expression, Purdue University found itself responding this week to reports that it had deleted video of a presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Barton Gellman. Gellman was the keynote speaker for Purdue’s “Dawn or Doom” colloquium, and he gave a talk on “national security journalism,” which included several slides containing classified information regarding the NSA and Edward Snowden. In a blog post for The Century Foundation, Gellman said Purdue administrators initially promised him a copy of the video, but later reneged […]

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  • Purdue President and Students Join Forces for Free Speech on Campus

    October 1, 2015

    Purdue University President Mitch Daniels had found what he was looking for. Since late 2014, Daniels had, with the help of FIRE, been taking a hard look at the university’s written policies to ensure they didn’t infringe on speech rights on campus. But Daniels wanted to do more. “We were already busy trying to make certain that we had clear and forceful protections of First Amendment rights in place here at Purdue. In the process, I read the Chicago principles,” Daniels said of the statement on free speech authored by the University of Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression. The […]

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  • Purdue’s Dean Supports Free Speech Without Ifs, Ands, or Buts

    September 4, 2015

    As dedicated Torch readers know, I’ve been known to engage in a rant or two about university presidents who wax poetic about the value of free speech and then go on to carve out all sorts of exceptions for unpopular speech—which is precisely what the First Amendment is designed to protect. (University of Iowa and Brandeis University, I’m looking at you.) I therefore read the recent “letter to the community” from Purdue University’s Dean of Students, Katherine L. Sermersheim, with particular pleasure. Appearing in The Exponent as an op-ed piece, the letter comments on the campus appearance of a preacher […]

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  • ‘NY Daily News’ to NY Colleges: Adopt U. of Chicago Statement on Free Speech

    August 24, 2015

    Back in January, FIRE proudly endorsed the excellent free speech policy statement issued by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. In the months since, we’ve been pleased to see Purdue University and Princeton University follow suit by adopting the statement as institutional policy—and this fall, FIRE will mount a national campaign calling on colleges and universities nationwide to do the same. Happily, when it comes to New York State, the New York Daily News beat us to it. In an editorial today, the Daily News asks the Empire State’s institutions of higher learning to adopt […]

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  • FIRE’s Majeed: 2015 Already a Good Year for Speech Code Reform

    July 30, 2015

    Over at The Huffington Post today, my colleague Azhar Majeed takes an encouraging survey of the solid progress FIRE has already made in 2015 in reforming restrictive speech codes. Azhar reviews the four schools that have already earned FIRE’s best, most speech-friendly “green light” rating thus far in 2015—George Mason University, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Western State Colorado University—and highlights the important roles that students and faculty can play in improving policies. Taking a close look at Purdue, Azhar writes: These changes benefit faculty members and students tremendously in the exercise of their […]

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  • Purdue University Eliminates All of Its Speech Codes, Earns FIRE’s Highest Rating

    May 15, 2015

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 15, 2015—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is pleased to announce that Purdue University has earned FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating for free speech. With help from FIRE, Purdue revised its speech-related policies to comply with the First Amendment. Purdue further affirmed its commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression by adopting a statement similar to the University of Chicago’s laudable statement on academic freedom, endorsed by FIRE in January. “We’re proud to add Purdue to the growing list of green light institutions,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. […]

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  • Purdue Plans to Invite Freshmen to Pledge Themselves to ‘Creed’

    August 2, 2013

    Kathy Mayer writes for the July/August issue of the Purdue Alumnus magazine that a new “creed,” currently being written by Purdue University students, will outline for freshmen “what’s expected of those who take on the name Boilermaker.” (The Boilermakers is Purdue’s athletic nickname.) “If you cannot follow the creed, then this is not the place for you,” says Purdue Dean of Students Danita Brown.  Mayer reports that incoming freshmen will be “invited to pledge to the creed.” The creed idea comes from a “Resolution Against Racism at Purdue” presented to the administration by the Purdue Anti-Racism Coalition. It is unclear […]

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  • FIRE President Greg Lukianoff Speaking at Purdue University Tomorrow

    April 8, 2013

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be on the campus of Purdue University this Tuesday, April 9, to discuss free speech on campus and his book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. Greg’s speech will take place at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center, room 218 A-B, and is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Purdue chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Office of the President. Following his talk, Greg will be available to sign books, which will be available for purchase on-site.  Greg Lukianoff ‘Unlearning Liberty’ […]

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  • Mitch Daniels, in First Week as Purdue President, Talks Freedom of Opinion and Inquiry

    January 24, 2013

    Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels may have declined to run for President of the United States last year, but he has nevertheless landed a presidency of his own—that of Purdue University. And as Inside Higher Ed reports, he’s already made a splash in his first week on the job, with an open letter (PDF) to the Purdue community. Of interest to FIRE and its supporters is his acknowledgement of this criticism of higher education: Diversity is prized except in the most important realm of all, diversity of thought. The academies that, through the unique system of tenure, once enshrined freedom […]

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  • Jonathan Turley: ‘Free Speech Under Fire’

    March 12, 2012

    Last Friday, Jonathan Turley penned an excellent column about new threats to freedom of expression at home and abroad in the Los Angeles Times. Turley, a well-known legal commentator and professor at The George Washington University Law School, surveys the legal landscape in both Europe and the United States and concludes that “Western nations appear to have fallen out of love with free speech and are criminalizing more and more kinds of speech through the passage of laws banning hate speech, blasphemy and discriminatory language.” He notes that “[i]ronically, these laws are defended as fighting for tolerance and pluralism.” Professor […]

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  • Victory: All Nine Complaints Dismissed for Professor Who Criticized Muslims

    March 1, 2012

    After investigating nine complaints of harassment and discrimination against Professor Maurice Eisenstein, Purdue University Calumet has dismissed all of them. Among other comments on his personal Facebook page, Eisenstein had criticized “‘moderate’ Muslims” who he believed had not condemned violence after an attack by “a radical Muslim group” killed Christians in Nigeria. Faculty members, students, and the Muslim Student Association filed the complaints. FIRE intervened in January after the university’s investigation dragged on for more than two months, chilling expression on campus. The case has been covered this week by the Associated Press, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Journal & Courier (Lafayette, Indiana).  The case is […]

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  • Purdue-Calumet prof’s Islam comments create stir

    February 15, 2012

    by Associated Press The Chicago Tribune WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- A political science professor at a Purdue University campus in northwest Indiana says the school is investigating him for comments he made on his personal Facebook page in November about Muslims killing Christians in Nigeria. Maurice Eisenstein tells the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/yObbuH) that he believes the university is investigating him to try to scare other faculty into political correctness. About two dozen students protested at the campus in Hammond for two days after Eisenstein posted the comments, calling for the associate professor’s classes to be boycotted and for him to be dismissed. University spokesman Wes Lukoshus […]

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  • Purdue Offers Admirable Lessons in Liberty, Despite Having a Speech Code

    November 13, 2009

    Yesterday, Peter pointed out Purdue University’s admirable defense of the rights of a faculty member who published a controversial “Economic Case Against Homosexuality” on his personal blog at Townhall.com, fully within Purdue’s policy on such publications. Some students have called on Purdue to punish the professor, but Purdue appears to have turned the controversy into a valuable lesson on responding to free speech in a free society. As Peter noted yesterday, Purdue spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg rightly said that “[t]here are many things on the Internet that would be offensive to a lot of people but protected by the First Amendment,” and that […]

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  • FIRE, Purdue Defend Rights of Conservative Faculty Blogger Amidst Calls for Dismissal

    November 12, 2009

    A controversial blog post by a conservative faculty blogger at Purdue University has had some members of the Purdue community calling for him to be disciplined or dismissed from Purdue. Fortunately, the Purdue administration isn’t among them. Bert Chapman, a tenured professor and Purdue’s government information and political science librarian, also posts on a blog named “Conservative Librarian” at Townhall.com. On October 27, Chapman posted an entry entitled “An Economic Case Against Homosexuality” which, as the Indianapolis Star summarizes, “laid out an argument that the cost for AIDS research and treatment should factor into the national debate over the acceptance of […]

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  • Victory for Religious Freedom at Purdue

    May 19, 2004

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 19, 2004—After six months, Purdue University has finally granted a Christian women’s housing group an exemption from a mandatory “nondiscrimination” policy that would have made voluntary religious association impossible. The policy threatened the housing of the group as well as its very existence. On April 19, 2004, the women of the Stewart Cooperative housing group received a letter from Purdue’s Office of the Dean of Students granting them an exemption from a Purdue policy that effectively would have barred this Christian group from being Christian. “We are gratified that Purdue has realized that a ‘nondiscrimination’ clause […]

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