This Week in FIRE News

November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day, and happy 11/11/11!

Fall is a habitually busy time for FIRE, and this season has been no exception. In addition to taking on specific free speech, due process, and religious liberty cases at colleges across the country, FIRE has also been working diligently to make sure students and faculty are armed with the resources necessary to keep their rights intact.

Fresh off the heels of the release of our survey of the standards of evidence employed by the nation’s top 100 colleges and universities, on Wednesday we released our Policy Statement on Political Activity on Campus for 2012, following censorship policies at Grambling State University and other colleges. This is good timing, as in the wake of election season, college students and faculty across the nation should be aware of their right to engage in political speech on campus.

For a recap of where other FIRE cases and issues made headlines this week, please see the following:


This Week in FIRE News

October 28, 2011

As most Torch readers know, in April of this year, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) established new mandates requiring colleges and universities receiving federal funding to dramatically reduce students’ due process rights. Under the new regulations, colleges and universities must employ a "preponderance of the evidence" standard—a 50.01%, "more likely than not" evidentiary burden—when adjudicating student complaints concerning sexual harassment or sexual violence. Back in May, FIRE sent an open letter to OCR, sharply criticizing the agency’s new requirements, and we have been promoting these criticisms in the blog and through media coverage ever since.

Today, we released a survey of standards of evidence used by the nation’s top colleges and universities in an effort to gauge the impact of the new OCR requirements. Be sure to check out our survey in its entirety, and to stay tuned for further news on the impacts of OCR’s mandate next week.

Here’s a look at where this new mandate, and other campus due process and free speech issues, were captured in the media this week:

On OCR’s new mandate:

On UCSB’s lies about viewpoint discrimination against College Republicans:

On the due process victory for a student at University of North Dakota:

On "yellow light" speech codes at San Diego State University:

On CVCC student Marc Bechtol’s Facebook case:

On the professor who took a box cutter to a free speech wall at Sam Houston State University:


This Week in FIRE News

September 16, 2011

Happy Constitution Day!

As summer winds down and students get settled into their routines, we are reminding everyone on college campuses of the potential threats to free speech they face, and to be prepared to stand up for their rights. As a reminder, here is a recap of campus free speech issues in the news this week:

On Northern Arizona University’s Attempt to Censor a 9/11 Commemoration:

On 9/11:

On a proposed electronic communications policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (read about FIRE’s victory here):

On Harvard’s "Civility" Pledge:

On Indiana University – Bloomington Students Advocating for Speech Code Reform:

This Week in FIRE News

September 2, 2011

As college students across the nation settle into their back-to-school routines, we’ve been reminding them on The Torch how to ensure that their free speech rights stay intact this year. If you haven’t yet, check out our new "Free Speech Toolbox" for students, professors, parents, concerned citizens, and members of the legal community to access the best resources for defending free speech rights on campus.

Here’s a recap of the campus free speech news that made headlines this week.

On back-to-school warnings:

On the threat to campus due process:

On the freedom to protest on campus:

On campus policies that violate freedom of expression: