As FIRE continues to follow commencement addresses at colleges and universities across the nation (and associated controversies, including disinvitations of speakers), we’ve been pleased to note that several speakers have stressed the importance of freedom of expression on college campuses in their remarks. We agree that the university must serve as the “marketplace of ideas” where ideas compete for prominence, and we hope that these institutions take their invited guests’ words to heart — in policies and in practice.
May 13: University of California, Berkeley
Comedian and Berkeley alumnus Maz Jobrani encouraged the students [...] » Read More
Last month we wrote about a free speech bill in Wisconsin, praising some parts of the bill while highlighting portions that needed improvement. Since then, an amendment to the bill has been passed that fixed a glaring problem that threatened the constitutionality of the original draft.» Read More
FIRE is excited to share with our supporters that we have once again earned Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating — its highest possible! Charity Navigator is America’s largest independent charity evaluator, and is most utilized by supporters like you to determine which organizations are worthy of your trust and support.
By designating FIRE as a four-star charity, Charity Navigator recognizes that FIRE “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in America.”
University of Missouri adopts commitment to free speech, new guidelines on campus expressive activity
In a welcome development for students’ and faculty members’ First Amendment rights, the University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou) has adopted both a policy statement committing the university to free speech principles as well as a series of policies related to free expression, assembly, and protest designed to provide robust protections for campus expressive activity.
Mizzou, of course, made national headlines when student protests broke out on campus in the fall of 2015. In addition to drawing attention to their cause, the student protesters’ expression » Read More
A faculty member sends an email that critiques a recent announcement from the college administration on an issue related to race, equity, and inclusion; students catch wind of the email, allege that its sender is racist, and organize campus-wide protests in response; the protesters confront the faculty member directly and demand their resignation or firing; the administration responds to the protesters’ demands with a wishy-washy statement of support for the embattled faculty member before outside pressure and criticism forces a more full-throated statement of public support.
It is much like the series of events that transpired on Yale University’s [...] » Read More
If you attend Regis University or are considering applying, be warned: Regis University leads students to believe their free speech rights are protected, and then investigates students for exercising those rights.
Such is the case for student Alexander Beck, who is now under investigation for “harassment” and “discrimination” for expression protected by the First Amendment, which he also believed would be protected at Regis, a private school that promises its students free speech rights.
FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff once declared 2014 the year of the heckler. But after high profile examples of mob censorship at the University of California, Berkeley, Middlebury College, and Claremont McKenna College, has 2017 become the new year of the heckler — at least on college campuses?
On this week’s episode of » Read More
We’re excited to announce that Isaac Smith has joined FIRE as a legal intern!
Isaac just completed his second year of law school at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and is beginning a joint J.D./M.A. degree in political science in the fall. His current research interests lie in judicial politics and the way actors in the judicial system are motivated to make decisions.
Isaac is from Athens, Ohio, a small college town that is home to his undergraduate institution, Ohio University, where he studied political science and Spanish. While at OU, Isaac was Associate Director of » Read More
Today, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter, co-signed by FIRE and Massachusetts attorney Andrew Beckwith, to Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). The letter warns BHCC that a number of its policies violate the First Amendment rights of a student group that was stopped while distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus.
ADF and FIRE sent the letter after a May 3, 2017, incident in which [...] » Read More
Controversy over Chinese student’s pro-free speech commencement address covered by The Washington Post
In an article titled “A Chinese student praised the ‘fresh air of free speech’ at a U.S. college. Then came the backlash,” The Washington Post told the story of University of Maryland student Yang Shuping, whose commencement address featuring a full-throated defense of free speech sparked outrage from many Chinese critics.
According to The Washington Post, Shuping’s speech focused on the vastly different free speech protections of the United States and China:
“People often ask me: Why did you come to the University of Maryland?” she said in her speech. “I always [...] » Read More