University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Website: http://www.uchicago.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Chicago 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.

  • FIRE Launches Campaign in Support of University of Chicago Free Speech Statement

    September 28, 2015

    During September 2015, FIRE launched a national campaign asking colleges and universities to adopt the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. The statement guarantees “all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn,” and makes clear that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” FIRE wrote hundreds of faculty members, students, and student journalists at institutions nationwide to build momentum in support […]

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  • University of Chicago: Facebook Photo Album Censored for “Disrespect”

    February 23, 2009

    The University of Chicago promotes freedom of expression in its Student Manual, writing, “At the University of Chicago, freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge.” However, when student Andrew Thompson posted photographs of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook.com within an album entitled “[Name of ex-girlfriend] cheated on me, and you’re next!” Thompson was asked to delete the post. The Dean of Students in the College, Susan Art, informed Thompson that his ex-girlfriend had come to her and complained, and that the album needed to be removed. After deleting the album, Thompson asked if the […]

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  • 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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Green Light Policies
  • Student Manual: University Policies- Civil Behavior in a University Setting

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    The ideas of different members of the University community will frequently conflict, and we do not attempt to shield people from ideas that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive. Nor, as a general rule, does the University intervene to enforce social standards of civility. There are, however, some circumstances in which behavior so violates our community’s standards that formal University intervention may be appropriate. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University.  In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University.

     

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  • Student Manual: Student Life and Conduct- College Housing Discipline

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    Posters and flyers for House and hall activities, as well as those approved for a Recognized Student Organization (RSO) are allowed on designated residence hall bulletin boards. Each House has at least one bulletin board that is reserved for the residence staff of the House. Postings may not be placed inside stairwells, inside elevators, on elevator doors, or on student room doors unless approved by the residents of that room. A posting will not be restricted unless it violates the law, falsely defames a specific individual, constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. Postings may neither advertise nor refer to the availability of alcohol at an event.

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  • Student Manual: Student Life and Conduct- Protest and Demonstrations Policy

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function, a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within the university but also with the larger society. At the University of Chicago, freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge.

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  • Student Manual: Student Life and Conduct- Protest and Demonstrations Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    To further the effectiveness of their event, organizations and other groups of students organizing a protest or demonstration are encouraged to make advance arrangements with the staff of the Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) and/or their appropriate Recognized Student Organization (RSO) Advisor. Advance notification enables the University to help ensure that the event takes place in a constructive and peaceable manner.

    When possible, a request to hold a protest or demonstration should be submitted at least 48 hours before the start of the event to ensure its successful execution.  With the appropriate advance notice, RSO Advisors together with the Dean-on-Call will engage with student protestors and demonstrators during the event to help assure that the event is effective, to ensure participants’ safety, and to assist organizers in seeing that the demonstration does not disrupt the normal functioning of the University.

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  • Student Manual: Student Life and Conduct- College Housing Discipline

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    [R]esidents may not engage in threatening or harassing behavior that is directed against other residents, guests, or members of the housing staff. Any form of threatening or harassing behavior will be considered grounds for serious disciplinary action by the housing staff and may also be referred to University disciplinary systems. Residents must also respect the personal property and assigned space of other members who live in College Housing.

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  • Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 20, 2015

    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.

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  • Campus and Student Life: Bias Response Team

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    Members of our community sometimes express thoughts and perspectives that are perceived as false, objectionable, or offensive by others. Expressions that cause hurt or discomfort can, but do not for that reason alone, constitute a violation of the law or of University policy.  Rather, the communications are assessed within the standards provided by germane University reports and policies, including the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression, and the University Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, and statements that reinforce the University’s commitment to diversity, civility, and equity.

    Although the [Bias Response Team] can assist students in determining whether a violation of law or University policy may have occurred, and may refer students to additional resources should such a violation be likely, the BRT cannot initiate disciplinary action or impose sanctions.

    A bias incident involves actions committed against or directed toward a person or property that are motivated, in whole or in part, by a bias against race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes as required by law and that interferes with one’s educational opportunities or disrupts the learning environment.

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  • Student Manual: University Policies- Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 30, 2016

    Harassment based on [race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes as required by law] is verbal or physical conduct or conduct using technology that is so severe or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational program participation, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

    A person’s subjective belief that behavior is offensive, intimidating or hostile does not make that behavior harassment. The behavior must be objectively unreasonable. Expression occurring in an academic, educational or research context is considered as a special case and is broadly protected by academic freedom. Such expression will not constitute harassment unless (in addition to satisfying the above definition) it is targeted at a specific person or persons, is abusive, and serves no bona fide academic purpose.

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  • U. of C. Warns New Students: No ‘Safe Spaces,’ ‘Trigger Warnings’

    August 25, 2016

    By Andy Grimm at Chicago Sun-Times The University of Chicago welcomed the Class of 2020 to the simmering national debate over free speech on college campuses with a letter informing incoming students not to expect “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings” on the Midway… Read more here.

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  • U. of Chicago’s Condemning of Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings Reignites Debate

    August 25, 2016

    By Andy Thomason at The Chronicle of Higher Education A letter to incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago has reignited a debate over political correctness, the perceived coddling of college students, and academic freedom… Read more here.

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  • Free Speech vs. Safe Spaces: Why UChicago is Pushing Back on Limits

    August 25, 2016

    By Gretel Kauffman at The Christian Science Monitor Like most incoming freshmen going to college this month or next, the University of Chicago Class of 2020 can expect to experience late nights, new friends, and difficult classes… Read more here.

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  • Don’t Ask Us for Trigger Warnings or Safe Spaces, the University of Chicago Tells Freshmen

    August 25, 2016

    By Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post University of Chicago students should not expect to get “trigger warnings” before professors talk about sensitive topics, or “safe spaces” where they can gather with others to avoid a speaker whom they find offensive, entering students were told this week… Read more here.

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  • University of Chicago Attacked Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces. Did It Also Attack Academic Freedom?

    August 25, 2016

    By Robby Soave at Reason The University of Chicago is drawing considerable praise from free speech advocates after it published a letter to incoming freshmen that criticized trigger warnings, safe spaces, and dis-invitations of controversial speakers… Read more here.

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  • ‘Disinvitations’ for College Speakers are on the Rise — Here’s a List of People Turned Away this Year

    July 29, 2016

    By Abby Jackson at Business Insider Student activism has long been ingrained in the culture of college campuses, but protests about perceived discrimination over the past year have been especially tense… Read more here.

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  • Should Any Ideas be ‘Off the Table’ in Campus Debates?

    June 30, 2016

    By Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic In a Thursday debate titled “Academic Freedom, Safe Spaces, Dissent, and Dignity,” faculty or administrators from Yale, Wesleyan, Mizzou, and the University of Chicago discussed last semester’s student protests and their intersection with free speech. They shared the stage at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, with Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League; Kirsten Powers, author of The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech; and Greg Lukianoff, who leads the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education… Read more here.

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  • Studies in the First Amendment, Playing Out on Campus

    June 22, 2016

    By Abby Ellin at The New York Times Ask Andrea M. Quenette if she thinks that colleges and universities are doing a good job refereeing the debate over free speech, and she’ll respond with an emphatic ‘no.’… Read more here.

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  • Is There a Place for Hate Speech on Campus?

    June 15, 2016

    By Sara Merken at Bloomberg BNA When racist, homophobic, and other forms of hate speech occur on university campuses, the necessity for each student to feel respected conflicts with the academic freedom to express all viewpoints, panelists said at a June 10 conference… Read more here.

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  • On a College Campus? Don’t Try to Tell a Joke

    May 23, 2016

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Beast Tell a joke, and you might make someone laugh. But tell a joke on a college campus, and you might make someone report you to the administration’s Bias Response Team (BRT)—an Orwellian bureau that investigates students and faculty members for saying the wrong thing… Read more here.

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  • Mizzou is Mulling a Ban on Protest Camps Under Decades-old Rule

    May 18, 2016

    By Mark Schierbecker at The College Fix Whoever succeeds University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe in the fall probably won’t have to worry about legions of squatters calling for his or her ouster… Read more here.

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  • Why Free Speech Matters on Campus

    May 12, 2016

    By Michael Bloomberg at The Wall Street Journal  During college commencement season, it is traditional for speakers to offer words of advice to the graduating class. But this year the two of us—who don’t see eye to eye on every issue—believe that the most urgent advice we can offer is actually to college presidents, boards, administrators and faculty… Read more here.

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  • Congress Hears from Miami Professor, FIRE over Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

    May 11, 2016

    By Sean Fowler at Florida Record WASHINGTON – University of Miami law professor Frances Hill recently testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on colleges stifling free speech over fears of losing tax-exempt status, an issue that’s become a serious concern on and off campuses nationwide… Read more here.

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  • Get Thought Police off College Campuses

    May 10, 2016

    By Anna Beavon Gravely at The Charlotte Observer With hundreds and thousands of young people graduating from colleges across the country during the coming weeks, many of them will have an opportunity to hear from fascinating commencement speakers. Keynoting UNC Chapel Hill’s commencement over the past weekend, for example, was Anne-Marie Slaughter, who has written extensively about women’s evolving opportunities in the workplace… Read more here.

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  • Free Speech Above All

    May 10, 2016

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed The University of Minnesota at Twin Cities is considering a set of statements on free speech that, if passed, could be the strongest such affirmation seen on any campus. Yet the statements’ future is uncertain, given concerns — especially those from students — about free speech being “paramount” to other values. At the same time, it’s unclear whether free expression can truly be protected without declaring it paramount… Read more here.

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  • U. Of C. Holding Old-Fashioned Debate on Second Amendment and Gun Control

    May 2, 2016

    By Sam Cholke at DNA Info HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago is hosting an old fashioned debate on Tuesday on whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution should be amended… Read more here.

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  • Another Win for Free Speech: University of Chicago Dumps Free Speech Code

    April 29, 2016

    By Spencer Irvine at Accuracy in Academia It becomes  to earn a ‘green-light’ free speech rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)… 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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  • 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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  • Tennessee Bill Seeks to Outlaw Campus Bias-Reporting Systems

    March 15, 2016

    By Breana Noble at The College Fix Tennessee’s state legislature is slated today to consider a bill that aims to provide sweeping protection to college students’ free speech rights on campus – including outlawing bias-reporting systems. Read more here.

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  • Do Students Value Free Speech?

    February 12, 2016

    By Jonathan Marks at Commentary Magazine Tolerance of offensive speech or expression is an acquired taste. I recall learning in school about the 1977 case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie as a kind of triumph of America’s dedication to the First Amendment. Yet the value of protecting the right of swastika wearing Nazis to march through a Jewish neighborhood is hardly self-evident. Nor is it self-evident what good it does us to defend the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funerals of servicemen in order to express its view the God hates the […]

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  • Adopt the University of Chicago Free Speech Statement

    February 1, 2016

    By David Moshman at The Huffington Post In July 2014 the president and provost of the University of Chicago, “in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse,” appointed a Committee on Freedom of Expression to draft a statement “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” … Read more here.

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  • Silencing Students: The 8 Most Loathsome Campus Censors of 2015

    December 29, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com Every year brings new examples of ruthless college administrators trampling the free expression rights of students and faculty, and 2015 was no different. Here are eight of the most notable campus censors I wrote about this year. Honorable Mention: Eric Posner Eric Posner, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, hasn’t actually censored anyone, so he doesn’t make the list. But he certainly provides a great deal of intellectual ammunition for people working to restrict free expression rights—including and especially university administrators, as well as the police. Whether he is arguing that 18-year-olds […]

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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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  • Why Students Don’t Want Free Speech on Campus Anymore

    December 16, 2015

    By Heather Sells at CBN News CHICAGO — More and more, today’s college students want professors and administrators to make them feel safe and will protest if they don’t. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit educational foundation that tracks speech on college campuses. The foundation recently captured cell phone video of a Yale University student publicly cussing at and denouncing Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor and master of Silliman College, a residence hall, at Yale. “You should step down,” the student screamed at Cristakis. “It is not about creating an intellectual space. It is […]

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  • University of Wisconsin Regents Says no to Demand for Safe Spaces

    December 15, 2015

    By Peter Fricke at Campus Reform The University of Wisconsin system’s Board of Regents passed a resolution Friday defending the principles of free expression in reaction to student demands for “safe spaces.” The Associated Press reports that the resolution passed easily by a vote of 16-2, and was inspired by the racial protests at the University of Missouri and elsewhere, which have occasionally involved efforts to silence dissenting voices. “These are not just pretty words we are going to put in a brass plaque,” Regent Jose Delgado told AP, referring to the board’s commitment to put its principles into practice. […]

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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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  • Looking for a College With Political Diversity? Here’s a Few Options and Ones to Avoid

    December 5, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Universities and colleges often make rapt headlines for political radicalism, but a diverse, well-rounded higher education may be more available than you think. Backlash against liberal institutions have essentially been on the rise since conservative giant William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale in 1951. The National Review founder and publisher lamented the worldview of his alma mater in the famous book declaring, “The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.” Heterodox Academy, whose mission is to “increase viewpoint […]

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  • How Parents can Avoid Spending Thousands on Colleges that Host Student Storm-Troopers

    December 1, 2015

    By Thomas Sowell at New York Post Storm trooper tactics by bands of college students making ideological demands across the country, and immediate pre-emptive surrender by college administrators — such as at the University of Missouri recently — bring back memories of the 1960s for those of us old enough to remember what it was like being there and seeing firsthand how painful events unfolded. At Harvard back in 1969, students seized control of the administration building and began releasing to the media information from confidential personnel files of professors. But when university president Nathan Pusey called in the police […]

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  • Chicago School of Free Speech

    November 23, 2015

    By L. Gordon Crovitz at The Wall Street Journal “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” read the headline of an essay for the liberal website Vox earlier this year. The author, who was frightened enough to write under a pseudonym, admitted that he “cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad,” including books by Mark Twain. The American Association of University Professors last year warned: “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.” The liberals who run U.S. universities can’t be surprised by […]

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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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  • Liberals’ Response to Dissent: Shut Up

    November 4, 2015

    By Michael Barone at Washington Examiner “‘Shut up,’ he explained.” Those words are from Ring Lardner’s short story “The Young Immigrunts.” They’re an exasperated father’s response from the driver’s seat to his child’s question, “‘Are you lost, Daddy?’ I asked tenderly.” They also can be taken as the emblematic response of today’s liberals to anyone questioning their certitudes. A response that at least sometimes represents the uneasy apprehension of the father in the story that they have no good answer. It was not always so. Today’s liberals, like those of Lardner’s day, pride themselves on their critical minds, their openness […]

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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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  • To Combat Sexual Assault, Colleges Say Yes to Affirmative Consent

    October 29, 2015

    By Bonnie Miller Rubin at Chicago Tribune    For Blake Bullock, talking about sex is nothing new. As a peer educator at the University of Illinois, he leads discussions on everything from birth control to sexually transmitted diseases. But recently, the conversations have taken a decidedly different turn. “We’re spending a lot of time on the nuances of consent because that’s where many students get tripped up,” said Bullock, a graduate student in social work in Champaign. “They do worry that it’s going to ruin the mood.” As sexual assault cases on campuses have moved from private matter to public […]

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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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  • University of Chicago Leads the Way for Academic Freedom

    October 1, 2015

    By Aleister at College Insurrection Greg Lukianoff of The FIRE recently wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post which is worth a read. It focuses on academic freedom at the University of Chicago. Every University in the Country Should Adopt the University of Chicago’s Academic Freedom Statement Though far from over, 2015 may be remembered as a year when free speech and academic freedom on campus took center stage. From the months-long Title IX “inquisition” waged against Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis, to students in Utah and Texas being confined to tiny “free speech zones,” to the University of California’s Orwellian […]

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  • Battling for Free Speech: Way Too Little Too Late

    September 30, 2015

    By Bernie Reeves at National Review Is there hope? University of Chicago professor Geoffrey R. Stone and vice president Will Creeley of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) have joined together to write yet another in a long line of useless jeremiads lamenting what has become a hopeless epidemic of protected speech in higher education. And like the others who cry out that Western civilization is doomed, the authors offer a placebo, not a cure. In the so-called “Chicago statement” on the issue, the authors make clear that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to […]

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  • Univ. of Chicago Held Up as National Model for Free Speech

    September 29, 2015

    By Peter Fricke at Campus Reform FIRE announced it is embarking on a national campaign to encourage schools to adopt a version of a statement approved by Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression. The statement disavows the suppression of any ideas simply because they might be offensive or distasteful. A policy statement produced earlier this year by the University of Chicago affirming the school’s commitment to free speech is being held up as a national model for other schools to adopt. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announced Monday that it is embarking on a national campaign to […]

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  • Every University in the Country Should Adopt the University of Chicago’s Academic Freedom Statement

    September 28, 2015

    By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post Though far from over, 2015 may be remembered as a year when free speech and academic freedom on campus took center stage. From the months-long Title IX “inquisition” waged against Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis, to students in Utahand Texas being confined to tiny “free speech zones,” to the University of California’s Orwellian “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance,” to the rise of campus trends like the policing of micro-aggressions and trigger warnings, students, professors, alumni, and even our president are wondering aloud if our campuses have lost their way. Therefore, I am pleased to announce […]

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  • Restoring Free Speech on Campus

    September 25, 2015

    By Will Creeley and Geoffrey R. Stone at The Washington Post Censorship in the academic community is commonplace. Students and faculty are increasingly being investigated and punished for controversial, dissenting or simply discomforting speech. It is time for colleges and universities to take a deep breath, remember who they are and reaffirm their fundamental commitment to freedom of expression. The past academic year offers a depressing number of examples of institutions of higher education failing to live up to their core mission. At Northwestern University, for example, Professor Laura Kipnis endured a months-long Title IX investigation for publishing an essay […]

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  • Recommit to Free Speech on Campus: Our View

    September 16, 2015

    By Editorial at USA Today Give leaders at the University of Chicago  an “A” for standing up for much-beleaguered freedom of speech on campus, and hand an “F” to many of the nation’s colleges and universities for running in the opposite direction. In recent years, the assault on campus free speech has often been led by an unlikely source: the students whose predecessors a generation ago were at the vanguard of debate and protest. Sometimes the motive is the usual suspect, liberal political correctness that seeks to scrub colleges of any conservative ideas. But recently, a desire by students to protect themselves and others […]

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  • Time To Follow The ‘Chicago Way’ On Free Speech In Higher Education?

    August 10, 2015

    By Tom Lindsay at Forbes As the presidential primary season gathers steam, presidential hopefuls in both parties are pitching voters on a number of proposals designed to arrest tuition hyperinflation and its accompanying, crushing student-loan debt. But barely a mention has been made of the most frightening crisis that American higher education faces—the assault on free speech and debate. Both parties have, up until now, missed the opportunity to challenge our nation’s universities to adopt the “Chicago Way.” Let me be clear: I am not pointing to this Chicago Way, and certainly not to thisone. I refer instead to what […]

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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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  • 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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  • Charles McElwee: Beware of Campus ‘Speech Codes’

    March 29, 2015

    By Charles McElwee at The Charleston Gazette The mission of FIRE, an acronym of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. It “defines a ‘speech code’ as any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large.” FIRE has a Speech Code Rating System which expresses the degree to which free speech is curtailed at a particular institution. The system uses traffic light colors — red, yellow and green. A “‘red light’ institution has at least one policy that both […]

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  • Professor: Universities Should Treat Students As Children, Limit Their Free Speech

    February 18, 2015

    By Caitlin Grimes at Campus Reform University of Chicago Professor Eric Posner said that universities were well within their rights to limit the free speech and behavior of their students as college students need to be treated like children instead of adults. “Critics complain that universities are treating adults like children,” Posner wrote in an article forSlate. “The problem is that universities have been treating children like adults.” Posner also addressed free speech outside of the classroom as it would pertain to individuals, clubs, and organizations. He first suggested that students unhappy with the code had every right to take […]

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  • From Fake Rapes To Petty ‘Microaggressions,’ American Colleges Have Lost Their Way

    January 26, 2015

    By Daniel Payne at The Federalist For anyone still keeping up with the University of Virginia’s fraternity gang-rape fiasco, this month brought a bit of good news: the Charlottesville Police Department announced it could find no proof that the alleged gang rape had occurred at Phi Kappa Psi. UVA subsequently reinstated the fraternity after having shut it down a few months before. This is small comfort to a debacle that has been both shameful and injudicious from start to finish. If there is anything good to be had from the entire mess, it is that a slapdash and irresponsible publication has been […]

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  • University of Chicago Has A Free Speech Policy That Actually Protects Free Speech

    January 15, 2015

    By Ashley Dobson at Red Alert Politics Too often free speech and universities seem to clash. Cases of students being censored or thrown off campus for their beliefs are all too prevalent, usually due to some misguided belief that speech shouldn’t offend anyone. But the University of Chicago isn’t falling victim to that kind of politically correct thinking that plagues so many of its academic colleagues. Led by Geoffrey Stone, a professor specializing in constitutional law, the university’s new policy makes it clear that the school might have many duties to its students, but ensuring them an offense-free environment isn’t one of […]

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  • University Of Chicago’s New Free Speech Policy Actually Protects Free Speech

    January 14, 2015

    By Tim Cushing at TechDirt Free speech and higher education seem to be at odds. The notion of expanding minds, exposing prejudices and encouraging critical thinking has taken a backseat to a bizarre “offense-free” ideal in recent years, something that can partially be traced back to our own government’s insertion into the (stunted) conversation. Tying federal funding to sexual harassment policies is definitely part of the problem. The other part appears to be a misguided thought process that equates inclusion with the elimination of any speech that might negatively affect someone. Rather than actually deal with speech issues on a […]

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  • Chicago Students Vow to Destroy ‘Hate Speech’ As Soon As They Figure Out What It Is

    January 13, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online What is hate speech? The aptly-named Chicago Maroon has no idea. The University of Chicago’s Committee on Free Expression recently published a surprisingly unqualified defense of free speech on campus (surprising only because university commissions are often hostile to speech and the group’s name was fairly Orwellian). Its authors noted the university’s rich history of bringing controversial speakers to campus for the sake of exposing students to a truly wide-range of ideas. In response, The Maroon—a student newspaper—ran an editorial requesting clarification from the committee. Because free speech is all well and good, but what […]

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  • UChicago Student Paper Gets Flak For Demanding ‘Hate Speech’ Codes

    January 13, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix That Chicago Maroon editorial asking the University of Chicago to separate “hate speech” from protected speech – under its new free-expression statement – is getting flak from civil-libertarian quarters but also on campus. Student Max Bloom says in a letter to the editor that it’s “plainly impossible” to separate hate speech from simply “offensive” speech, which the paper wants to do: How striking it was to spend a day listening to people vocally defend free speech and then see an editorial arguing that exactly the sort of content Charlie Hebdo was publishing should be banned on campus. “Speech […]

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  • Univ. of Chicago’s Statement On Free Speech A Rarity

    January 13, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has enthusiastically endorsed the new free-speech policy statement released by the University of Chicago. The newly released policy developed by the Committee on Freedom of Expression says, in part, that the school “guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.” The policy, released last week, also adds: “It is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” Azhar Majeed, director of […]

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  • University of Chicago Releases Sweeping Free-Speech Statement

    January 7, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Tired of “civility” being cited to shut down campus debates? Irritated at the constant infringements on what you can say without getting hauled in front of a disciplinary board? The University of Chicago may be the place for you. A committee established by the administration in July, “in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse,” just released a report affirming the school’s zero-tolerance policy on restricting speech. Whether inviting a communist speaker in the 1930s, celebrating free inquiry during the Vietnam War or just recently affirming that “education should […]

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  • Campus Hate Crime Hoaxes: A Best-Of List

    December 17, 2014

    By Michael Cipriano at The College Fix From New Jersey to Wyoming, college campuses around the country have been plagued with hate crime hoaxes in recent years. Sometimes justified as trying to raise awareness for progressive social causes, the hoaxes often worked. The College Fix compiled this list of recent university hate crime hoaxes. Racist Facebook messages posted by student himself – November 2014 A University of Chicago student admitted to posting racist and violent messages against himself on his Facebook page after claiming his account was hacked. The elaborate hoax was an attempt to shame the school into making policy changes addressing race […]

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  • University of Chicago to Hire ‘Associate Dean’ of Investigating Sexual Assault Cases

    May 23, 2014

    By Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform While the federal government investigates the University of Chicago’s (U of C) alleged mishandling of reported sexual assaults, the school will hire a new dean tasked solely with investigating them. Effective July, U of C will implement a new associate dean of students who, according to a university spokesperson, will only cover “sexual misconduct and harassment/discrimination.” The university will also implement a special disciplinary committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students to hear cases of sexual misconduct. “The disciplinary committee will come from a university-wide pool representing all academic units; students will most likely […]

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  • Free Speech: Just a Recent Fad?

    October 8, 2012

    Did you know that free speech wasn’t really valued in the United States until the 1960s?Hopefully you didn’t just say “yes” to that question. But if you did, I can understand why: Ever since the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” video surfaced on YouTube and was used as an excuse to kill Americans abroad, some academics have taken to making that very case on the Internet and in print. This is a meme that needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.I’ve heard the “America only started loving free speech in the ’60s” argument before from academic friends, and Stanley Fish […]

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  • We Are All Blasphemers: A Response to Eric Posner

    September 26, 2012

    Everyone is a blasphemer to someone. I know it doesn’t feel like it. I know it’s hard for modern Americans to imagine going to jail (or worse) because of what you believe in your heart, but every single person reading this has a belief that in some part of the world or at some point in history could’ve gotten you arrested, beheaded, or burned at the stake. Are you a Protestant? That was a burning offense. Catholic? More of a beheading/hanging one. Jewish? You get the idea. And, of course, there are people like me, atheists, who are still considered […]

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  • Why Eric Posner is wrong about free speech

    September 26, 2012

    University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner created an Internet sensation yesterday with an article for Slate in which he argued that the United States overvalues free speech. Posner argued that the reaction to the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video that has been indirectly blamed for causing the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, shows that other nations “might have a point” when they decide that free speech must “yield to other values and the need for order.” Unfortunately but predictably, academics seem to be leading the charge against freedom of speech in the wake of the controversy over the video. University […]

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  • University Of Chicago Censors Student’s Post On Facebook

    March 26, 2010

    The University of Chicago has censored a student’s post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph “Tex” Dozier posted a joke that he had had a dream about assassinating University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer “for a secret Israeli organization.” Mr. Mearsheimer is co-author of the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This post prompted an investigator from the university’s police department to question Mr. Dozier about his political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier’s comments on his university radio show and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have the post reported to Mr. […]

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  • Civil liberties group says free speech not safe at U of C

    May 12, 2009

    The University’s free speech policies were criticized last Tuesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), who claim that the U of C has not carried through with its promised commitment to open student discourse. The academia-focused civil liberties group also found fault with the University’s policies on bias reporting and organized protest. “The University of Chicago has chilled speech across the campus,” Adam Kissel (M.A.’02), director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, wrote in a press release. FIRE’s attention was drawn to the U of C after reading a Maroon article last quarter about the administration’s request that […]

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  • Speech on Campus After 9/11: Less Free than It Used to Be?

    May 25, 2006

    Universities have traditionally been places where debate and the free exchange of ideas have been welcomed. But after 9/11, that may be changing — as some recent, troubling incidents suggest. In this column, I’ll survey some recent incidents suggesting free speech on campus is in peril, and discuss the extent to which the First Amendment protects student and faculty speech Cracking Down on Student Demonstrators and Controversial Student Speech Recently, students at the University of Miami (a private school, but one with a stated policy of fostering free speech) demonstrated alongside striking maintenance workers to show solidarity. Now, they face […]

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  • U.S. media response to cartoons skewered

    April 26, 2006

    As dozens gathered Tuesday night in a University of Chicago lecture hall to discuss the visceral and sometimes violent reaction to cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim students who had been invited decided to watch a movie across campus instead. The three-man panel discussion, organized by the university’s chapter of the Objectivist Club, mainly focused on the U.S. media’s reluctance to reprint the cartoons, first published in Denmark in September. Panelist Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the issue was simple: Journalists are afraid. “There’s a lot of dishonesty” in the media’s explanation […]

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  • Professor Geoffrey Stone Explains the Importance of the Chicago Statement

    August 27, 2016

    Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education yesterday, Professor Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago (UChicago) explains the importance, necessity, and practicality of the committee report on free expression he and other UChicago faculty members authored last year. The “Chicago Statement,” as the report has come to be known, has proven widely influential, and has since been adopted by other institutions and faculty bodies nationwide and endorsed by FIRE. Explaining why universities should recognize the core principles undergirding the statement, Professor Stone writes: First, bitter experience has taught that even the ideas we hold to be most certain often […]

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  • University of Chicago President: ‘Questioning and Challenge Must Flourish’

    August 26, 2016

    The University of Chicago (UChicago) generated national headlines this week after sending incoming students a letter promising “the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas” and criticizing trigger warnings, disinvitations, and “intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” Authored by Dean of Students Jay Ellison, the letter has reawakened an ongoing debate about the locus of threats to free expression in higher education. Critics like the New Republic’s Jeet Heer charge that by articulating an institutional opposition to the use of trigger warnings, the letter “constitutes a chilling […]

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  • U. Chicago’s ‘Academic Freedom’ Letter a Win for Campus Speech [UPDATED]

    August 25, 2016

    The University of Chicago (UC) has pushed back against the nationwide trend toward student-led calls for censorship with a letter to incoming students telling them not to expect “intellectual ‘safe spaces’” when they arrive on campus this fall. FIRE hopes this will be the first of many requests from colleges and universities asking students to recommit to freedom of expression this academic year. Importantly, UC has confirmed to FIRE that its statement that it does “not support so-called ‘trigger warnings’” is not a ban on that practice. Critics today have charged that the statement might undermine academic freedom: If UC […]

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  • FIRE Debates at U. of Chicago: Should the Second Amendment Be Amended?

    April 29, 2016

    CHICAGO, April 29, 2016—After every mass shooting, the debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment is rehashed in the media and in the court of public opinion. Much of the conversation centers around what the nation’s Founding Fathers intended when the Second Amendment was written over 200 years ago—but would gun control advocates be better off working to amend the Second Amendment? On Tuesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. Central time, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) will host a debate on the motion “The Second Amendment should be amended” at the University of Chicago. This Oxford-style […]

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  • University of Chicago Reforms All Speech Codes, Earns FIRE’s Highest Free Speech Rating

    April 26, 2016

    CHICAGO, April 26, 2016—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is excited to announce the latest university to earn its highest, “green light” rating for free speech: the University of Chicago (UC). In cooperation with FIRE, UC revised all of its speech codes to join an elite group of colleges and universities that maintain policies respecting student and faculty free expression rights and meeting First Amendment standards. “The University of Chicago has been a leader for free speech on college campuses with the Committee on Freedom of Expression’s exemplary free speech policy statement, and now I’m happy to say […]

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  • FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff Among ‘Top Minds’ Featured at U. Chicago Free Speech Event

    March 4, 2016

    The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics will host FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff next Wednesday, March 9, at its event, “The Battle Over Free Speech on College Campuses,” starting at 6 p.m. CST. The event is part of a series by the nonpartisan Institute of Politics that seeks to bolster students’ political engagement on critical topics by bringing together “the top minds in the country.” Greg will be joined by Colby College Professor and Salon and New Republic contributor Aaron Hanlon, The Atlantic Editorial Fellow Adrienne Green, and University of Chicago Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone, whom Torch […]

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  • ‘The Economist’ Covers Chicago Statement on Free Speech and FIRE

    January 29, 2016

    The Economist explores the growing trend of colleges adopting the University of Chicago’s free speech policy statement in its latest issue, out tomorrow. The Chicago statement sets forth important principles for protecting free speech on campus, and its adoption can help secure the kind of free and open discourse necessary to the pursuit of knowledge. FIRE formally endorsed the statement in early 2015 and launched a national campaign in September encouraging other institutions to adopt it. The Economist cites publicity surrounding recent high-profile speech controversies on our nation’s campuses for the uptick in interest in adoption of the Chicago statement, […]

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  • Geoffrey Stone on the University of Chicago’s Statement on Free Expression

    September 28, 2015

    In this video, Geoffrey Stone talks about his role in the crafting of the University of Chicago’s groundbreaking statement on freedom of expression. Stone, a renowned professor at the University of Chicago Law School, chaired the committee that crafted the statement. The language has since been endorsed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and USA Today as model language that should be used to enshrine robust speech protections for faculty and students on campuses everywhere. “Universities should not take ideological or political positions,” said Stone of the philosophical ideals that guided the committee. “It’s essential for universities […]

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  • FIRE Launches Campaign in Support of University of Chicago Free Speech Statement

    September 28, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA, September 28, 2015—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is launching a national campaign asking colleges and universities to adopt the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago earlier this year. In Sunday’s edition of The Washington Post, University of Chicago law professor and interim dean Geoffrey Stone and FIRE’s Will Creeley explained in an op-ed why the Chicago statement is urgently needed on campuses nationwide. FIRE has written hundreds of faculty members, students, and student journalists at institutions nationwide to build momentum in support of the […]

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  • University of Minnesota Student Leads Charge for Chicago Principles

    September 18, 2015

    Momentum is building nationwide behind a push for adoption of the University of Chicago’s statement in support of freedom of expression on campus, endorsed by FIRE this past January. On Wednesday, USA TODAY’s editorial board penned a stirring call for the statement’s widespread adoption, echoing a New York Daily News editorial from late August. Now students are joining the chorus as well. Last week, University of Minnesota student Jasper Johnson took to the pages of the Minnesota Daily to argue for the adoption of the Chicago principles. Making the case that protecting even offensive speech would ultimately benefit his fellow […]

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  • ‘USA TODAY’ Asks Colleges to ‘Recommit to Free Speech on Campus,’ Endorse Chicago Principles

    September 17, 2015

    In an editorial yesterday, USA TODAY encouraged colleges and universities to follow the University of Chicago’s lead in adopting broad speech protections on campus. Citing FIRE’s speech-code tracking Spotlight database, the editorial board wrote: [C]ollege administrators are often too happy to oblige their fragile students with speech codes, speech zones, disinvitations of controversial speakers and heavy-handed sanctions on anyone who dares to defy the strict rules — rules that seldom stand up to legal scrutiny when someone challenges them in court. More than half of 437 institutions surveyed last year by FIRE, a free-speech advocacy group, had restrictive speech codes; […]

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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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  • The Nature of Power: Why Free Speech Is Non-Partisan

    July 22, 2015

    A few widely-publicized incidents during my first year at the University of Chicago—a stereotyped Halloween costume here, an ill-advised joke there—led many students on campus to perceive a culture of hostility and indifference to the grievances of marginalized campus populations. Invariably a few of these students, who tended to identify as liberals, responded by advocating that speech deemed racist, sexist, or offensive be officially penalized. And, invariably, an acrimonious debate followed between self-styled social justice advocates and self-styled free speech defenders, many of whom, including myself, consider ourselves liberals just like the social justice advocates. Given the liberal basis behind […]

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  • Safe Speech

    June 22, 2015

    Consider two events at the University of Chicago. In the first instance, Zineb El Rhazoui, a Charlie Hebdo journalist, spoke at the University of Chicago Law School not long after the Charlie Hebdo offices were attacked in Paris. El Rhazoui had her critics: Student Aseal Tineh criticized Rhazoui in the question-and-answer session for supposedly marginalizing the global Muslim population. She asked, “Why do I have to be Charlie Hebdo?” Rhazoui responded, in part, “Today, being Charlie Hebdo means to die for a drawing, because of its own ideas, and because of a certain idea of freedom. And not everyone, excuse […]

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  • Judith Shulevitz: College Students Are ‘Hiding From Scary Ideas’

    March 23, 2015

    One Brown University student explained her recent decision to leave a debate about sexual assault thusly: “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.” In seeking to avoid ideas with which she disagrees, this student is far from alone—and this depressingly widespread sentiment is endangering open discourse on college campuses. Journalist Judith Shulevitz wrote in The New York Times on Sunday about the increasing demands from college students who want “safe spaces” where they will be shielded not just from physical danger, but from ideas that they find upsetting. […]

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  • University of Chicago Student Explains Why Free Speech Is a ‘Virtue’ on Campus

    January 23, 2015

    Last week I wrote about The Chicago Maroon’s shameful response to the University of Chicago (UC) Committee on Freedom of Expression’s new, FIRE-endorsed free speech policy statement. The consensus opinion of the student newspaper’s editors, who demanded the school censor more speech, not less, was incredibly disappointing to see, especially from student journalists. Today, UC student Nicholas Saffran published an impressive rebuttal to the Maroon’s editorial, arguing that free, open discourse is actually a benefit, not a detriment, to the campus community. Saffran writes: Too often, we conceive of free speech as merely a negative limit on what institutions, whether […]

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  • University of Chicago Student Journalists Lament School’s Support of Free Speech

    January 15, 2015

    Last week, the University of Chicago’s (UC’s) Committee on Freedom of Expression published a free speech policy statement, which “guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.” FIRE proudly endorsed the statement and recommends that other universities adopt a similar statement. However, the statement failed to impress those who should understand the necessity of free speech on UC’s campus the most: the editorial board of UC’s student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon. In an editorial last week, the Maroon editorial board committed one of the worst “We believe in free speech, […]

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  • FIRE Endorses University of Chicago’s New Free Speech Statement

    January 7, 2015

    CHICAGO, January 7, 2015—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) endorses the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. Yesterday, the Committee, chaired by esteemed law professor Geoffrey Stone, released this powerful new report on the importance of freedom of expression on campus. The Committee’s statement declares: “Because 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. … [I]t is not the proper role of the […]

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  • University of Chicago Plans to Publish Revised Free Speech Policy

    October 14, 2014

    By the beginning of the new year, the University of Chicago (UC) has pledged to revise its free speech policy in response to the wave of free speech controversies occurring at colleges across the country. Like many other universities, UC is no stranger to controversy over free speech. Just a few months ago, the UC campus erupted in debate over gay rights activist Dan Savage’s use of the word “tranny” during an event at UC’s Institute of Politics (IOP). Although Savage used the term in a discussion about reclaiming slurs as a tool of empowerment, a student at the event […]

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  • University of Chicago Students Disregard Context, Call for Ban on ‘Hate Speech’ After Dan Savage Lecture

    June 6, 2014

    In the crusade to eradicate “harmful” speech from campus and ensure that students are never forced to endure the unspeakable horror of confronting an idea with which they disagree, context is often the first casualty. FIRE frequently encounters efforts to punish, or declare as wholly “off-limits,” certain words or ideas—even when examination of the context in which they were expressed exposes those efforts as utterly ridiculous.

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  • University of Chicago Student Makes Clear the Threats to Student Rights Presented by OCR, Bias Incident Policies

    May 8, 2012

    In the pages of The Chicago Maroon, University of Chicago (UC) student Bryant Jackson-Green takes on the myriad threats to student free speech and due process rights presented by new mandates from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), as well as by UC’s own policies regarding campus bias incidents.  Jackson-Green, who is also a member of FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network (CFN), writes at length about the fact that OCR’s April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter leaves those students across the country accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault with diminished due process rights, in particular by mandating universities incorporate […]

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  • ‘Free Speech Week’ Celebrated on Campuses Nationwide

    April 13, 2012

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

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  • FIRE Speaker at University of Chicago Tonight

    April 2, 2012

    FIRE Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed will be speaking tonight at the University of Chicago as part of Free Speech Week, an effort FIRE is co-sponsoring with Students For Liberty. Azhar’s talk, titled “How Free is ‘Free Speech’ at UChicago?,” will begin at 7:30 pm in the Bartlett Trophy Lounge at the University of Chicago and is sponsored by Students for a Free Society. Food will be provided. More information about Azhar’s talk is available here, and full details for the event are below: How Free is “Free Speech” at UChicago? Azhar Majeed, Associate Director of […]

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  • ‘Chicago Maroon’ Reports on University of Chicago Speech Codes

    January 21, 2011

    University of Chicago (U of C) campus newspaper Chicago Maroon has yet again highlighted FIRE’s red-light rating of the private institution due to its speech codes. The Maroon had published an article last year on the speech codes as well. In recent years, U of C has racked up numerous free speech controversies, including censorship of a student’s online speech, a Mohammed cartoon debacle, and censorship of a student’s Facebook album. In the latest Maroon piece, writer Maria Mauriello describes FIRE’s free speech concerns about UC, particularly regarding its bias incident policy. U of C’s speech codes employ vague and […]

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  • Adam Kissel to Speak About Academic Freedom at University of Chicago Law School

    May 6, 2010

    Today, FIRE’s Adam Kissel will participate in an Academic Freedom Symposium hosted by the American Constitution Society, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Federalist Society at the University of Chicago Law School.  The Symposium kicked off last night with a talk by Professor Aziz Huq on “Academic Freedom Around the World.” The events pick up again today with a lunch panel featuring Adam and Professor Richard Shweder of the University of Chicago to discuss “Academic Freedom in Practice.” The panel will take place at 12:15 p.m. in Room II in the law school.  Certainly Adam will have plenty to […]

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  • Which One Is a Real Threat?

    March 26, 2010

    Which of the following expressive activities deserves more than a cursory investigation and perhaps also punishment? A. Someone sends New York Representative Louise Slaughter a message saying, according to Politico, that “snipers were being deployed to kill” the children of members of Congress who had voted in favor of recent health care legislation. B. When asked about his feelings of the American public school system, an education critic says, “I say let’s blow it up.” C. Someone comments about the model in a photograph about a new competitor to the Segway, “Totally unattractive pose … [t]he photographer should be shot.” […]

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  • U. of Chicago Student Questions University’s Reaction to Facebook Post

    March 25, 2010

    by Jill Laster The Chronicle of Higher Education   A student at the University of Chicago says an innocent status update on Facebook led to an investigation by university police. Joseph Dozier, a third-year political-science and classics student, posted a comment on his Facebook page on December 6 saying “Dreamt that I assassinated John Mearsheimer for a secret Israeli organization-there was a hidden closet with Nazi paraphanelia [sic]. Haha! :-)” Mr. Mearsheimer, who has been one of Mr. Dozier’s instructors, is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Mr. Dozier told The Chronicle that his post referred […]

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  • Is This How You Would Treat a ‘Death Threat’?

    March 24, 2010

    FIRE has received a couple of e-mails since today’s press release went out from correspondents who believe that, in fact, the University of Chicago did the right thing by investigating and censoring undergraduate student Tex Dozier’s Facebook statement that he had a dream that he had assassinated one of his professors, John Mearsheimer, co-author of the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, on behalf of a “secret Israeli organization.” Here’s the exact quote, in context with several of the student’s adjoining Facebook status updates (in chronological order, with identifying information redacted as ***): Homemade Indian feast compliments […]

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  • Facebook/Twitter Joke about ‘Israel Lobby’ Author’s Assassination Leads to Police Investigation at University of Chicago

    March 24, 2010

    For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has censored a student’s post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph “Tex” Dozier posted a joke that he had dreamt about assassinating University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer “for a secret Israeli organization.” This post prompted an investigator from the university’s police department to question Dozier about his political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier’s comments on his university radio show, and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have the post reported to Mearsheimer, one of his professors. FIRE’s press release has taken Dozier’s case […]

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  • University of Chicago Repeatedly Censors Student Facebook Posts

    March 24, 2010

    CHICAGO, March 24, 2010—For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has censored a student’s post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph “Tex” Dozier posted a joke that he had had a dream about assassinating University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer “for a secret Israeli organization.” Mearsheimer is co-author of the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This post prompted an investigator from the university’s police department to question Dozier about his political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier’s comments on his university radio show, and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have […]

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  • Rights in the News: A FIRE-Fight Over Facebook

    May 15, 2009

    Before heading home for a weekend of sitting out in the sun, standing in line for Star Trek or, in my case, seeing how much Lost it is possible to cram into a single weekend of house-sitting, here are a couple of worthy articles to chew on. Both, incidentally, involve the social networking site Facebook—and by association practically every college student in the fifty states.   Robert’s article at Pajamas Media takes a hard look at the NCAA’s questionable practice of sending cease-and-desist letters to students unconnected with athletic departments who wish to “recruit” (in the NCAA’s eyes) sought-after college […]

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  • University of Chicago ‘Maroon’ Newspaper on FIRE and Free Speech

    May 14, 2009

    The Chicago Maroon student newspaper this week reported on FIRE’s criticism of the University of Chicago’s free speech policies, particularly with regard to the U of C’s censorship of a student’s Facebook.com page. Adam discussed this ridiculous case in depth on The Torch a few days ago. The gist of the case is that a male student, angry about his ex-girlfriend’s alleged infidelity, posted an album of pictures on Facebook entitled “[Name of ex-girlfriend] cheated on me, and you’re next!” This album drew comments from other Facebook users such as “Seriously though, what a f***ing whore” (language redacted), which led […]

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  • Group says U of C ‘censored’ student’s Facebook album

    May 6, 2009

    by Peter Sachs Chi Town Daily News   A national advocacy group is raising free speech issues with the University of Chicago for demanding that a student remove derogatory information about his girlfriend from a Facebook page. The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education compained about the incident in February, says Adam Kissel, a director at the group. “The University of Chicago is claiming the power to censor off-campus, disrespectful, allegedly disrespectful speech,” Kissel says. The incident began in January, when a U of C student posted a photo album on Facebook naming his ex-girlfriend in the title and […]

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  • University of Chicago Censors Student’s Facebook Photo Album

    May 5, 2009

    A University of Chicago dean ordered a student to change the title of his Facebook.com photo album and remove pictures of his ex-girlfriend after she complained to the dean. Dean of Students Susan Art invoked the university’s policy of “dignity and respect” and claimed the authority to police allegedly disrespectful off-campus speech, even when it appears on a personal Facebook page. Indeed, the university violates its own promises of free speech by maintaining a policy subjecting disrespectful speech to disciplinary action and a “bias incident” policy that encourages members of the university to report on the so-called biases of their […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: University of Chicago

    April 27, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at the University of Chicago, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that gravely infringe upon free speech at the university. Although it is a private university, not legally bound by the First Amendment, the University of Chicago has nonetheless chosen to commit itself to protecting free speech on campus. The university’s protest policy, found in the Student Manual, states that The primary function […]

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  • University of Chicago Debates Milton Friedman Institute Today, No Pre-Distribution of Materials Allowed

    October 15, 2008

    The academic freedom of the University of Chicago’s new $200-million Milton Friedman Institute has been under attack for a few months by some faculty members who object to its existence, its namesake, its possible influence on policy, its influence on undergraduates, or all of the above and more. In addition to these recent posts of mine, a couple of the websites of record are here (in favor of the MFI) and here (against), and on the topic of guilt-by-association with reference to Milton Friedman, here. The critics have their own right to criticize the Institute. But after their arguments were […]

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  • Objectivists host panel on Danish cartoons

    November 30, 2006

    Approximately 75 students and community members attended a panel discussion Tuesday about freedom of speech in the context of the controversy over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. The panelists spoke and took questions from the audience for nearly three hours. Entitled “Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons,” the panel event featured speakers Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute; Tom Flynn, the editor of Free Inquiry magazine; and Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. According to Rebecca Knapp, a fourth-year in the College and vice president of the Objectivist Club, […]

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  • Milton Friedman, Rest in Peace

    November 16, 2006

    Milton Friedman, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, died today at the age of 94. His many accomplishments include reviving the monetarist theory, predicting the “stagflation” of the 1970s, and creating the “Chicago School” of economics, based at the University of Chicago, where he taught. In 1976, on the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. Since then, twelve faculty members and/or graduates of the economics school at the University of Chicago have followed in his footsteps and been […]

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  • Offensive Halloween Costumes and Censorship

    October 31, 2006

    Halloween is upon us and college students all across the country will be celebrating this day by dressing up in a wide array of costumes. While some students will probably stick to classic costumes such as ghosts and vampires, some others may be thinking about slipping into scarier, more politically incorrect costumes this Halloween. For instance, in 2005, at the University of Chicago a group of students found themselves in trouble for holding a “Straight Thuggin’ Party” where students listened to rap music and dressed in hip-hop attire. Should students be afraid of disciplinary action for wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes? […]

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  • Silence Speaks Volumes at NYU

    May 24, 2006

    New York University prides itself on being a “private university in the public service,” but talk is cheap—that is, when it isn’t silenced altogether. Despite the lofty aspirations of the school’s motto, in late March NYU decided that certain types of speech on campus just aren’t entitled to the core First Amendment protections relied upon by every American with something to say. On March 30, a panel discussion entitled “Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons,” hosted by NYU’s Objectivist Club, was censored by NYU officials, who refused to allow the event to proceed as planned (and be open to the […]

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  • FIRE Comes to Chicago

    April 24, 2006

    Be advised, Chicago-area Torch readers: FIRE’s own Greg Lukianoff is heading your way. Our fearless leader will be part of a panel discussion on the Danish cartoons of Mohammed tomorrow night at the University of Chicago. More information can be found in our press release on the event. Incidentally, the Windy City is a very appropriate place for Greg to go these days. Chicago’s own DePaul University has been in the news repeatedly for suspending a professor for his criticism of Palestinians, squelching a student group’s efforts to protest a visit by Ward Churchill, and clamping down on an “affirmative […]

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  • Student Press in Jeopardy with ‘Hosty’

    March 3, 2006

    As we reported last week, FIRE is disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear Hosty v. Carter, thereby upholding the Seventh Circuit’s 2005 decision to allow public university administrators to censor student newspapers. The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) issued a press release this week airing student editors’ reactions. This decision has gained new importance in light of the recent debate surrounding the publishing of the Danish Mohammed cartoons. The Seventh Circuit encompasses Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois, and in Illinois alone, two controversies have arisen regarding the public display of the cartoons. At the University of Chicago, […]

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  • Free Speech for Some

    October 20, 2005

    It’s been in the news a bit recently that the Inter-University Council of Ohio passed a free-speech resolution (warning: PDF). The resolution committed Ohio’s public universities to upholding the principles enunciated in the American Council on Education’s statement from this summer, analyzed by FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff here. Here is one take on the matter from Doug Pennington, a columnist for the University of Cincinnati’s student newspaper: [T]he IUC passed a resolution on Oct. 11 confirming the following truisms: “Ohio’s four-year public universities are committed to valuing and respecting diversity of ideas, including respect for diverse political viewpoints. Neither students nor […]

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