University of Oregon: Student’s Four-Word Joke Results in Five Unconstitutional Disciplinary Charges
In June, a student yelled “I hit it first” out of a dorm window. She’s now being charged with five conduct violations.
EUGENE, Oregon, August 26, 2014—The University of Oregon (UO) has filed multiple, blatantly unconstitutional conduct charges against a female student who jokingly yelled “I hit it first” from a dormitory window. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is calling on UO to immediately dismiss all charges against the student and reform its unconstitutional speech policies. “The University of Oregon’s absurd overreaction is the real joke here, and it’s not very funny,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “Using an unconstitutional speech code to punish a student […]
University of Alaska Fairbanks: Complaint Over Student Newspaper’s Articles Results in Months-Long Harassment Investigation
University of Alaska Fairbanks student newspaper The Sun Star was subjected to sexual harassment investigations nearly a year after Professor Jensine Anahita filed complaints.
The University of Kansas placed Professor David Guth on administrative leave after he posted a controversial tweet about the NRA.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Heckler’s Veto Results in Termination of Emeritus Professor’s Network Access
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) succumbed to the “heckler’s veto” by revoking Emeritus Professor Elliot Cramer’s network access because of outside complaints about a website link to an organization that advocates for animal welfare. Despite telling the complainant that the dispute was “not a University matter” and that the university did not monitor website content, UNC nevertheless demanded that Cramer remove the link from his website and later canceled his network access. FIRE wrote UNC in protest, and General Counsel Leslie Chambers Strohm replied stating that UNC would not restore Cramer’s network access, redefining Cramer’s reasonable, […]
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Eight Years After Student’s Unjust Expulsion from Valdosta State U., $900K Settlement Ends ‘Barnes v. Zaccari’
ATLANTA, July 23, 2015—Today, more than eight years after his unjust expulsion, student Hayden Barnes’ federal civil rights lawsuit against Georgia’s Valdosta State University (VSU) and former VSU president Ronald Zaccari concluded with the announcement of a $900,000 settlement. In the spring of 2007, Barnes was expelled from VSU by Zaccari for a satirical environmentalist collage he posted on his personal Facebook page. With the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Barnes fought back by filing a civil rights lawsuit in 2008 against the university, Zaccari, other VSU administrators, and the Board of Regents of the […]
Yesterday the Newseum Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment freedoms, released its 17th annual “State of the First Amendment” survey, sponsored by the First Amendment Center. The survey of more than 1000 adults across the country reveals that freedom of speech is our most cherished right. Yet one third of survey participants said the First Amendment “goes too far in protecting individual rights;” last year that figure was a mere 13%. The report suggests that this might be a temporary spike due to the timing of the survey, but it is a troubling result nonetheless: It is […]
Today, FIRE is pleased to announce the winners of our 2013–2014 Freedom in Academia Essay Contest: Kanitta Kulprathipanja, a senior at Schaumburg High School in Schaumburg, Illinois, won first prize for her essay inviting readers to imagine what her essay would look like without freedom of speech. Kanitta will receive a $10,000 college scholarship. In her winning essay, published below, Kanitta argues that “[c]ollege brings huge changes in the life of a student. Students learn a lot during the years they spend there: about the past, about the world, and about themselves. Preventing free speech stunts their ability to gain […]