University of Wisconsin – Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Type: Public
Tell University of Wisconsin – Madison to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Wisconsin – Madison has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.

Due Process Rating

Non-Sexual Misconduct

Read more
D

Sexual Misconduct

Read more
C

Title IX

Read more
C

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
104
  • Chapter UWS 18: Conduct on University Lands- Computer Use

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    No person may, with intent to harass, annoy or offend another person, send a message to the person on an electronic mail or other computerized communication system and in that message use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act. Read More
  • Regent Policy Document 14-6: Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    Discriminatory Harassment is a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that: 1. is directed at an individual or group of individuals on the basis of the individual or group of individuals’ actual or perceived protected status, or affiliation or association with per... Read More
  • Regent Policy Document 14-2: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    Hostile environment sexual harassment. … 2. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature directed towards an individual that, when using the legal “reasonable person” standard, is so severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or w... Read More
  • Regent Policy Document 14-2: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    Hostile environment sexual harassment. 1. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature directed towards a student, an employee, or a person participating in a program or activity of the university that, when using the legal “reasonable person” standard, is so severe, pervasive, and objectionably offensive that it effectivel... Read More
  • Regent Policy Document 25-3: Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    Authorized users must not engage in unacceptable use of UW System IT resources, which includes but is not limited to the following: … 2.  Violation of federal, state, or local laws; institutional policies, rules or guidelines; or licensing agreements or contracts; 3.  Harassment of, threats to or defamat... Read More
  • Dean of Students Office: Bias Reporting Process

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    Official definition of a bias incident: Single or multiple acts toward an individual, group, or their property that are so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that they create an unreasonably intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, learning, or program environment, and that one could reasonably conclude ... Read More
  • Dean of Students Office: Protest Guidelines

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    The University of Wisconsin–Madison strongly values free speech both in the statement of an idea and in the response to that idea. Generating and exploring innovative ideas and realities requires us to permit multiple perspectives and dynamic discourse. We are committed to freedom of expression and the right to... Read More
  • Chapter UWS 18: Conduct on University Lands- Picketing, Rallies, Parades, Demonstrations and Other Assemblies

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 22, 2021

    (a) In order to preserve the order which is necessary for the enjoyment of freedom by members of the university community, and in order to prevent activities which physically obstruct access to university lands or buildings and prevent the university from carrying on its instructional, research, public service, or a... Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
7/20
  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Sexual Misconduct

C
9/20
  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Title IX

C
9/20
  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

FIRE surveyed roughly 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.

 

Rankings

Overall Ranking 104/154
Ideological Diversity 109/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 58.56
Openness 9.31
Tolerance (Liberals) 10.9
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.5
Administrative Support 5.6
Comfort 15.19
Disruptive Conduct 10.06
Speech Code YELLOW
  • U. of Wisconsin students not big fans of free speech, according to new survey

    January 13, 2021

    This past fall, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and the University of Wisconsin Survey Center surveyed 530 undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Madison about their views on free speech and religious liberty. The new report suggests that many University of Wisconsin undergraduates do not understand what constitutes protected… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin policy issue demonstrates need for regents, legislators to help promote campus free speech

    September 24, 2019

    FIRE often hears from state legislators, regents, and trustees that they care about campus free speech and would like to promote it at their state’s colleges and universities. This is, of course, welcome news to free speech advocates like FIRE. We are always happy to work with state officials — just as we do with… Read more

  • Don’t fall in love with the club that will be used to beat you over the head

    August 29, 2019

    It seems like every time a faculty member at a college or university says something controversial, someone responds with a public demand that the institution punish the professor. And way too often politicians are among the chorus of voices calling for punitive responses to unpopular expression. Sometimes they are even at the center of campaigns… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin Title IX investigation leads to lawsuit by accused student

    October 24, 2018

    In a new court filing, Quintez Cephus, a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, alleges that the university violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process. According to the complaint, by conducting a Title IX investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct while Cephus was simultaneously subject to criminal proceedings, the university: [K]nowingly and… Read more

  • FIRE alerts students to due process threats using campus newspapers

    February 23, 2018

    FIRE’s recent groundbreaking Spotlight on Due Process report found that the overwhelming majority of our nation’s top universities fail to provide students even the most basic elements of due process. Now, to make sure students know what they’re up against if they’re accused of serious misconduct, FIRE is running eye-catching ads in campus newspapers at… Read more

  • Wisconsin bill would unwisely meddle with UW medical school’s academic policy and decision-making

    October 24, 2017

    A bill introduced this year in the Wisconsin legislature would intrude upon the academic freedom of faculty in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The bill, SB154, would prohibit any employee of the University of Wisconsin (UW) system from doing any of the following “in the scope of his or her… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison deletes students’ video amid criticism from state senator

    September 22, 2017

    It’s not just Washington state legislators calling for unconstitutional restrictions on student speech. Several students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have attracted condemnations from a state senator after a copy of their video — critical of law enforcement and President Trump, and depicting violent imagery of a lynching and murder of a police officer —… Read more

  • UW-Madison Demonstrates What a ‘Green Light’ Definition of a Bias Incident Looks Like

    October 6, 2016

    Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of media coverage about campus bias-reporting protocols and the threats they present to students’ and faculty members’ freedom of expression. Of course, FIRE has been warning about the problems with these policies for years, and our case archives back up our ongoing concerns regarding… Read more

  • Wisconsin Legislator’s Threat to Slash UW Budget Over Reading Assignment ‘Cuts to the Core of Academic Freedom’

    July 8, 2016

    A Wisconsin legislator’s threat yesterday to cut the University of Wisconsin System’s budget over an “obscene” course reading assignment is the latest salvo in what is becoming a years-long war between the university and state lawmakers over academic freedom. State Senator Stephen Nass made the remarks in an email he sent Thursday to email lists… Read more

  • A Lifetime in ‘The Truth Business’: FIRE Honors the Exceptional Career of Wisconsin Professor Donald Downs

    May 6, 2016

    Editor’s Note: University of Wisconsin Professor Emeritus Donald Downs is a longtime friend of FIRE. Coincidentally, I worked for him as a teaching assistant when I attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. I was recently invited back to campus on FIRE’s behalf to report on a conference in Downs’ honor. In the frame, in… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents Passes Free Speech Statement

    December 11, 2015

    This morning, the University of Wisconsin System’s (UW’s) Board of Regents passed a policy statement affirming the system’s commitment to free speech. The UW statement is substantially similar to the “Chicago Statement,” the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago earlier this year, according to… Read more

  • Academic Freedom Concerns Plague UW-Madison’s Handling of Professor’s Twitter Controversy

    July 28, 2015

    Last week, the highest faculty governance body at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said it wouldn’t pursue punishment of professor Sara Goldrick-Rab for her controversial tweets, but faculty at the state’s flagship institution say the University Committee’s rush to publicly condemn her words has done lasting damage to their academic freedom. The University Committee, under pressure… Read more

  • UW-Madison Must Remain Faithful to Speech-Protective Language of Anti-Bullying Policy

    January 8, 2015

    Last November, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) Faculty Senate approved a new policy targeting hostile behavior in the workplace—but not, thankfully, targeting constitutionally protected speech. As UWM professor (and FIRE friend) Donald Downs noted on Minding the Campus yesterday, the Senate’s first draft of the “Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior” policy threatened protected speech, listing broad… Read more

  • FOIA Request for UVA Law Prof’s Records Threatens Academic Freedom

    May 28, 2014

    Last week, two students at the University of Virginia School of Law, working with LGBT rights group GetEQUAL, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the “university-funded travel expenses and cellphone records for the past two-and-a-half years” of Professor Douglas Laycock, a prominent legal scholar with expertise in religious liberty jurisprudence.

  • Free Speech Defender Professor Donald Downs Honored for Work

    April 8, 2014

    University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) Professor Donald Downs was recently awarded the university’s Hilldale Award for Social Studies, in recognition of his significant contributions as a teacher and free speech advocate. As a founding member of UW-Madison’s Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights, Downs helped defeat a faculty speech code on campus in 1999, setting an example for colleges nationwide.

  • FIRE’s Sean Clark Speaking at University of Wisconsin-Madison This Evening

    March 27, 2014

    Students and FIRE supporters in the Madison, Wisconsin, area are invited to hear FIRE Vice President of Operations Sean Clark speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) tonight at 7 p.m. in Birge Hall B302.

  • Vindicating Freedom of the Press from Alaska to Wisconsin

    February 25, 2014

    As we celebrate Free Press Week here at FIRE, I find myself thinking back on cases in which FIRE has intervened on behalf of student journalists and protected the freedom of the press that the First Amendment guarantees. I don’t have to look very far back, either. As our work over the past year (including as recently as this month) demonstrates, FIRE is committed to defending student newspapers and media outlets against censorship and ensuring that free press rights can be properly exercised on college and university campuses.

  • Student Spotlight: Haley Sinklair, Making Waves at University of Wisconsin-Madison

    December 18, 2013

    FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network’s Student Spotlight is proud to recognize University of Wisconsin-Madison student Haley Sinklair for her innovative student activism. Haley, a junior majoring in sociology and legal studies and the director of communications for Young Americans for Liberty at UW-Madison, has helped lead her group through a busy year promoting free speech rights on campus. The recipe… Read more

  • UW-Madison Senior Rebukes Censorial Commenters, Defends Open Debate

    November 14, 2013

    University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Alex Schaefer penned a passionate defense of the virtues of free and open debate this week in student newspaper The Badger Herald, responding to the reaction of the paper’s readership to a controversial letter to the editor. Schaefer was disappointed that many comments to the letter advocated stifling the author’s ideas and viewpoints, with some… Read more

  • Victory for Academic Freedom: Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Unconstitutional Ban on Faculty Speech

    July 1, 2013

    Yesterday, in a victory for academic freedom, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued a line-item veto to strike an unconstitutional ban on faculty speech and research from the Wisconsin state budget. A late addition to the budget proposal, the broad, vague ban would have prohibited University of Wisconsin faculty “from doing any work related to” the… Read more

  • FIRE Writes to Wisconsin Governor Urging Veto of Unconstitutional Budget Measure

    June 21, 2013

    On June 6, we reported on an addition to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s budget proposal that would forbid University of Wisconsin (UW) faculty from working with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization. FIRE then wrote a letter to Governor Scott Walker on June 13, expressing our concern with this provision… Read more

  • FIRE to Wisconsin State Legislature: Protect University of Wisconsin Faculty’s Academic Freedom

    June 13, 2013

    Today, FIRE sent a letter to Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin state legislators asking them to protect academic freedom by rejecting a controversial modification to the state budget. Specifically, the modification would prohibit University of Wisconsin faculty from "doing any work related to" the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ).   The current budget proposal,… Read more

  • Wisconsin Legislative Committee Threatens UW Faculty, Journalism Nonprofit

    June 6, 2013

    Just before 6 a.m. yesterday morning, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Wisconsin State Legislature voted 12–4 to add a motion to the proposed state budget that would kick the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ) off the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) campus and forbid UW employees from even working with the WCIJ. WCIJ… Read more

  • Fraternity Cleared of Discrimination Charge for Protected Speech But Punished Anyway

    June 1, 2012

    On May 23, a University of Wisconsin-Madison disciplinary committee voted 10-0 to clear the Delta Upsilon Fraternity (DU), a registered student organization (RSO), of a charge of discrimination, finding that the speech in question was protected expression. According to the disciplinary committee’s findings and an evidence packet, two student members of DU, after a long… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison To Pay $500,000 for Violating Religious Student Group’s First Amendment Rights

    September 26, 2011

    A 5-year-old legal battle over First Amendment rights has culminated in an enormous, nearly $500,000 bill for the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). Back in 2006, UW refused to officially recognize or fund, from student fees, the "Badger Catholic" (then, "Roman Catholic Foundation") student group. After a lawsuit and an injunction from a federal court, UW… Read more

  • Why Academic Freedom is Implicated by the Wisconsin GOP’s Open Records Request

    March 29, 2011

    Last Friday, I commented on the legal issues raised by the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s recent open records request of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM). Specifically, the Wisconsin Republicans are asking that UWM turn over all emails sent and received by Professor William Cronon on his university email account that reference a variety of terms… Read more

  • Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Seventh Circuit Decision Protecting First Amendment Rights of Religious Student Organizations

    March 8, 2011

    On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected an appeal by the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW) against a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that prohibited the university from denying funding to student organizations that engage in religious activities. This decision represents a victory for the First… Read more

  • Seventh Circuit: UW-Madison Cannot Refuse Religious Student Groups Funding on Basis of Religious Viewpoint

    September 3, 2010

    In a victory for free speech on campus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Wednesday that the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s (UW’s) policy of denying funding to student groups that engage in "worship, proselytizing, and religious instruction" is a violation of the First Amendment. The case, Badger Catholic, Inc. v…. Read more

  • Victory for Free Speech at University of Wisconsin: Antiwar Panel to Be Held Tonight

    April 26, 2010

    After cancelling a panel of antiwar speakers last Friday, University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW) has reversed its decision, and the event will proceed tonight as planned. The university also will not charge an unconstitutional security fee to any of the student or academic sponsors of the event. Steve Horn, president of the UW chapter… Read more

  • Don Downs on UW-Madison Newspaper’s Internet-Age Free Speech Dilemma

    March 25, 2010

    University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Don Downs has an essay today at Minding the Campus worth reading, in which he discusses how he and the staff of the Badger Herald newspaper dealt with a controversy involving an advertisement run by Holocaust denier Bradley R. Smith on its website. Downs explains that Like some other controversies involving the… Read more

  • New Due Process Rules Finally Hit University of Wisconsin

    September 10, 2009

    As of September 1, revisions to UWS 17, which governs the on- and off-campus behavior of students in the University of Wisconsin System (UWS), have taken effect. As Torch readers may remember, FIRE played an active role in the revision process, particularly when it became known that proposed revisions to the conduct code severely limited… Read more

  • Wisconsin Students’ Right to Legal Representation Diminished in Ambiguous New Draft of Conduct Code

    June 4, 2009

    I reported last month that the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents had announced the restoration of fairly strong due process rights for students in the May 2009 draft of UWS 17 and 18, the statewide code of nonacademic student conduct. The restored rights include the option of a hearing before a committee including… Read more

  • Victory for Student Rights in Wisconsin: Regents to Restore Basic Due Process Rights Including a Hearing by Peers and Attorney Representation

    May 6, 2009

    Due process matters. It can protect a student from being expelled for no good reason or from being tried for an alleged infraction without any of the legal privileges that citizens routinely get in off-campus judicial systems. My statewide speaking tour of Wisconsin in March made clear to me that college students across the state… Read more

  • Angry Wisconsin Dean Resents Fair Procedures for Students

    May 6, 2009

    As you can see in today’s press release, the University of Wisconsin System has been reevaluating part of its student conduct code with a particular emphasis on disciplinary procedures and what process is due to students who are accused of violations. The revisions to the code sections entitled UWS 17 and 18 include the following…. Read more

  • Victory for Student Rights in Wisconsin: Regents to Restore Due Process Rights

    May 6, 2009

    MADISON, Wis., May 6, 2009—After substantial input from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has restored essential due process rights for students statewide. The restored rights include the option of a hearing before a committee including student peers, attorney representation in the case of serious… Read more

  • Adam’s Lecture at the University of Wisconsin Uploaded to Podcasts Page

    March 16, 2009

    Earlier this month, FIRE’s Adam Kissel went on a tour of the University of Wisconsin system to speak to students and faculty about due process and the proposed changes to Chapters UWS 17 and 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. We have posted his lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on our Multimedia page. Be… Read more

  • FIRE Writes Wisconsin Regents about Reconsidering Due Process Changes for Students

    March 13, 2009

    As I wrote last week, I spent several days in Wisconsin to discuss a number of due process concerns in the proposed changes (PDF) to Chapters UWS 17 (PDF) and 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Some of the proposed changes diminish due process for students accused of infractions, and other proposed changes make it… Read more

  • Wisconsin Faculty and Students Rise in Defense of Due Process

    March 4, 2009

    I am on tour this week in Wisconsin because of proposed changes to UWS 17 (PDFs), the part of the Wisconsin Administrative Code that applies to University of Wisconsin student non-academic disciplinary matters. The proposed changes, as I outlined earlier today, seriously diminish the due process rights of students and add so much uncertainty (in… Read more

  • Due Process Matters, or, Why I’m On Tour in Wisconsin

    March 4, 2009

    Due process matters. Just ask Hayden Barnes, who was expelled from Valdosta State University by means of a note slid under his door—without any hearing or any chance to respond to the “evidence” (a Facebook.com collage) against him. Or ask Professor Donald Hindley at Brandeis, whose provost put a monitor in his classroom over a… Read more

  • Don Downs on ‘Blazing Saddles’ Controversy at UW–Madison

    October 28, 2008

    Two weeks ago, The Badger Herald, a student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), reported on the university’s apology to an African-American student offended by the content of a clip from the 1974 Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles, which an instructor showed in a training seminar run by UW’s Continuing Studies Department in November… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin Professor Don Downs Criticizes Misconduct Policy Revisions on ‘Minding the Campus’

    October 9, 2008

    Don Downs, University of Wisconsin–Madison professor and President of the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights (CAFAR) at the University of Wisconsin (UW), has an article, "Due Process Fades In Wisconsin," on the Manhattan Institute’s Minding the Campus. Downs is critical of the changes approved by the UW System Board of Regents. After explaining the… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin Faculty Criticize Proposed Changes to Misconduct Code

    October 6, 2008

    Last week, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System Board of Regents approved new revisions to the student misconduct policies including "Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Standards" and "Conduct on University Lands." The revisions were sent to a legislative committee for review last Friday. They will be returned to the Board of Regents for a public hearing before… Read more

  • The University of Wisconsin Needs to Drop the Security Fee—Permanently

    December 13, 2007

    The Wisconsin State Journal reports that on October 22, the College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin–Madison hosted a speech by political pundit David Horowitz. The university intended to charge the student group $1,300 in security fees, but according to The Badger Herald, ended up covering the fee for the group when the group demonstrated… Read more

  • University of Wisconsin’s Bias Reporting System Went Out with a Whimper, But Anonymous Bias Reporting Systems Remain

    November 29, 2007

    An article in The American Thinker mentions FIRE’s victory at the University of Delaware, where an egregious thought reform program was shut down after FIRE’s publicity campaign. The article highlights “Think Respect,” a “bias reporting mechanism” at the University of Wisconsin whereby students were encouraged to “report anything” that could possibly be construed as bias-related…. Read more

  • Professor Donald Downs Discusses ‘Religion in the University’

    June 18, 2007

    Last Monday, University of Wisconsin at Madison Professor Donald A. Downs had an interesting post at the National Association of Scholars forum, “Religion and the University.” Professor Downs divides the history of the American university into three eras: the proprietary, the liberal, and the post-liberal. The proprietary university, to use the American Association of University… Read more

  • Victory for Religious Liberty at the University of Wisconsin

    May 10, 2007

    A few days ago David French reported over at Phi Beta Cons that the University of Wisconsin Roman Catholic Foundation settled its religious discrimination lawsuit against the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The terms of the settlement consisted of the following: [T]he Foundation’s recognition as a student group was affirmed, the university agreed to award the Foundation… Read more

  • Debate at University of Wisconsin a Success

    April 13, 2007

    On Wednesday night, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff debated University of Wisconsin Professor Howard Schweber on “Political Correctness, Academic Speech, and Free Speech on Campus” at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Badger Herald reported that the debate went very well. Greg came to the defense of free speech—even when the expressive form of the speech might… Read more

  • FIRE President to Debate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

    April 11, 2007

    The Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society are sponsoring a debate between FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and University of Wisconsin political science professor Howard Schweber on “Political Correctness, Academic Speech, and Free Speech on Campus.” The debate will take place tonight at 7:00 PM in Room 5240 on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Pizza… Read more

  • Victory for Religious Freedom in Wisconsin

    March 12, 2007

    Last September, FIRE reported that the University of Wisconsin–Madison was derecognizing and defunding a number of religious student organizations, including the Roman Catholic Foundation, on charges of religious discrimination. In February, FIRE reported that the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin System passed a new policy that, despite some ambiguity, more or less… Read more

  • Professor Kaplan Speaks Out—And New Questions Abound

    March 8, 2007

    One of the big mysteries in the ongoing debacle at the University of Wisconsin Law School has been what, exactly, was said in Professor Kaplan’s classroom on February 15. (For background on this story, see here; for the reaction from the University’s Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights, see here.) From the first, the tone… Read more

  • UW’s Free Speech Committee Expresses Concern over Kaplan Case

    March 5, 2007

    Yesterday, at the University of Wisconsin, the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights released a statement on the recent imbroglio at the Law School over a professor’s provocative statements about the Hmong people. The Committee said that it was following the affair “with deepening concern” and that it was worried about the consequences for academic… Read more

  • Furor at UW Law over Professor’s Classroom Comments

    February 28, 2007

    For the past two weeks at the University of Wisconsin Law School, several students have been decrying what they see as racially insensitive remarks made by a tenured professor during class. According to the campus newspaper, The Badger Herald, Professor Leonard Kaplan made the provocative remarks about the Hmong people, an ethnic group from Southeast Asia… Read more

  • Religious Freedom Under Assault at the University of Wisconsin (Again)

    September 27, 2006

    The University of Wisconsin is once again impinging upon the religious freedom of its students. The current debacle began in February when the Freedom from Religion Foundation urged the University of Wisconsin–Madison to de-fund the University of Wisconsin Roman Catholic Foundation and other religious groups. In April the University of Wisconsin–Madison said that it would fund… Read more

  • Professor Under Review for Saying 9/11 Might Be an ‘Inside Job’

    July 6, 2006

    The provost of the University of Wisconsin at Madison announced last week that the university would conduct a “review” of an instructor who has publicly stated that he believes the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job.” The instructor, Kevin Barrett, was a guest on a radio show last week where he defended his controversial views…. Read more

  • Bible Studies: Not So Bad After All

    March 14, 2006

    FIRE’s press release today announces a tremendous victory for religious liberty throughout the 13 schools in the University of Wisconsin System. Since last November, the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC) has been under attack for a policy that banned RAs from leading Bible studies—or studies of any other holy book—in their dorm rooms, on the… Read more

  • Wisconsin Regents’ Education Committee Approves New Bible Study Policy

    March 10, 2006

    In a fantastic development for religious liberty and freedom of association on campus, the Education Committee of the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents yesterday approved a new policy governing activities by RAs that would acknowledge that they have the same right to lead or participate in Bible studies or any other group activities as… Read more

  • Kersten Lauds FIRE’s Religious Liberty Efforts

    March 9, 2006

    An excellent column by Katherine Kersten of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently called attention to FIRE’s efforts to protect religious liberty on campus. She writes: The Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE) is a Philadelphia-based organization that defends constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, due process and religious liberty, on college campuses. In 2003, FIRE commissioned twin… Read more

  • Editorials Endorse Repeal of ‘Bible Study Ban’

    March 9, 2006

    Today, the Education Committee of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is set to vote on repealing UW-Madison and UW–Eau Claire’s infamous “Bible study bans.” It was FIRE, of course, that brought this issue to the surface. As the Education Committee votes—and, hopefully, as the full board prepares to vote tomorrow—it’s an appropriate time… Read more

  • There Is No Such Thing as ‘Hate Speech’

    February 24, 2006

    Yes, that is correct. “Hate speech” is not a category of speech recognized under current constitutional law. It is merely a convenient way to pigeonhole speech that some people find offensive. But what is very troubling is when people begin to treat “hate speech” as unprotected speech. For example, a student leader at Penn State,… Read more

  • The UW Waiting Game Begins

    February 15, 2006

    Yesterday, the Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin–Madison featured an article on the letter recently sent to UW System President Kevin Reilly by ten Wisconsin legislators. As the article points out, FIRE’s public exposure of UW–Eau Claire’s ban on RAs’ holding Bible studies in their dorms (which is also in force at UW-Madison) resulted… Read more

  • Legislators Renew Call for Religious Liberty at UW

    February 9, 2006

    FIRE recently received a copy of a letter sent on February 7 to Kevin Reilly, the president of the University of Wisconsin System, about the ongoing “Bible study ban” controversy there, which FIRE brought to public attention. It’s from ten Wisconsin state legislators and it’s so good that it’s worth quoting in full: Dear President… Read more

  • Nine Days Left to Set UW Straight

    January 27, 2006

    An article in yesterday’s edition of The Spectator, the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, provided some useful information about FIRE’s battles against UWEC’s and UW-Madison’s nationally infamous “Bible study bans.” As you may recall from FIRE’s January 16 press release: The University of Wisconsin (UW) has missed yet another opportunity to demonstrate… Read more

  • ‘Badger Herald’ Gets It Right

    January 20, 2006

    Check out the excellent editorial from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Badger Herald on the ongoing debacle at UW-Madison and University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire: This board feels that RAs within the UW System have the right to lead ideological discussions in their own dorm rooms so long as such sessions remain strictly voluntary. To ban an… Read more

  • Bring Your Moral Outrage to Bear on UW

    January 19, 2006

    Monday’s press release noted the University of Wisconsin’s latest missed chance to abolish once and for all its Eau Claire and Wisconsin campuses’ now-infamous “Bible study bans.” As we pointed out then, a UW committee has ludicrously recommended that the individual campuses be allowed to determine their own policies vis-à-vis Bible studies—which they haven’t exactly… Read more

  • Cuius Regio, Eius Religio

    January 16, 2006

    The University of Wisconsin committee charged with making recommendations for a final, system-wide policy on whether RAs should be allowed to lead Bible studies in their dorms put out its Resident Assistant Working Group Final Report late last week. The committee’s recommendation: each school in the UW System should make the decision for itself. The… Read more

  • UWEC’s Edifice of Repression Begins to Crumble

    December 1, 2005

    Today’s FIRE press release announces that the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC) is now in federal court over its unconstitutional ban on RA-led Bible studies in those RAs’ own dormitories. Since FIRE exposed this shameful example of religious repression last month, UWEC and the UW system have been taking enormous hits from all sides for… Read more

  • Wisconsin Readers: Watch FIRE on TV Tonight!

    November 18, 2005

    FIRE President David French will be appearing tonight on the Wisconsin Public Television program Here & Now, which airs at 7 p.m. (CT). It does not seem to be available online, but friends of liberty in Wisconsin should tune in. During the appearance, David will debate Mike Rindo, UWEC’s executive director of university communications. It’s… Read more

  • Have RAs Surrendered Their Religious Rights?

    November 10, 2005

    FIRE’s case at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC), where Christian RAs have been told that they may not lead Bible studies in their own dorm rooms or dorms, has captured a great deal of attention in the national media, including syndicated columnist Suzanne Fields’ latest. Condemnation of UWEC has generally been widespread, and for… Read more