Shippensburg University: Speech Code Litigation
In April 2003, FIRE Legal Network attorneys David A. French and William Adair Bonner filed a complaint against Shippensburg University, challenging the legality of its speech code, on behalf of two unnamed students. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania later issued a preliminary injunction ordering Shippensburg to cease enforcement of certain aspects of the speech code. The attorneys reached an out-of-court settlement with Shippensburg in 2004, in which the school agreed to replace unconstitutional provisions of its Code of Conduct and to rewrite its Racism and Cultural Diversity Policy. Four years later, Shippensburg reinstated several unconstitutional provisions from the speech codes, in violation of the agreement. After the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit on behalf of several Shippensburg students in May 2008, the university again settled out of court, eliminating its unconstitutional speech codes once again.
- "Federal Lawsuit Filed against Shippensburg University as School Blatantly Violates Settlement Repealing Unconstitutional Speech Codes," May 7, 2008: A complaint filed in federal court today by attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund alleges that Shippensburg University has dishonestly reinstituted unconstitutional policies in violation of the terms of a 2004 legal settlement reached with members of FIRE's Legal Network. The 2004 settlement came after the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a preliminary injunction against the university, ordering Shippensburg's then-president, Anthony F. Ceddia, not to enforce unconstitutional provisions of Shippensburg's code.
- "A Great Victory for Free Speech at Shippensburg," February 24, 2004: FIRE and its Legal Network have won a historic victory for free speech on college and university campuses. Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, which had so vehemently defended extensive restrictions upon the free speech of its students, has agreed to repeal its unconstitutional speech code.
- "Shippensburg University's Speech Codes (2003)," February 24, 2004
- "Federal Court Orders Shippensburg University Not To Enforce ‘Unconstitutional’ Speech Code," September 5, 2003: A federal court issued a preliminary injunction on September 4, 2003, ordering Shippensburg University President Anthony F. Ceddia not to enforce provisions of Shippensburg's speech code. The court also denied the university's motion to dismiss FIRE's case, allowing it to proceed to trial.
- "Court Order for Shippensburg University, September 4, 2003," September 4, 2003
- "Lawsuit Already Shakes Speech Codes at Shippensburg University," August 22, 2003: As part of its current nationwide effort to free American public colleges and universities from unconstitutional restrictions on speech, FIRE and its Legal Network have challenged Shippensburg University's speech codes in federal court. Although a ruling has yet to be issued, Shippensburg University finds itself unable to defend in public what it wished to do in private and is already dismantling its policies.
- "Affidavit of Walter A. Bair," July 22, 2003
- "Shippensburg University Racism and Cultural Diversity Policy Statement, as Printed May 19, 2003," May 19, 2003
- "Form Response from Shippensburg University to FIRE, April 2003," April 30, 2003
- "FIRE Declares War on Speech Codes," April 23, 2003: Yesterday afternoon, attorneys from FIRE's Legal Network challenged the unconstitutional speech code at Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania. This lawsuit is the first step in an unprecedented national campaign that will end—through legal action and through public exposure—the scandal of unconstitutional censorship at America's public college and university campuses and that will force private institutions to choose between liberty and tyranny.
- "Complaint Against Shippensburg University," April 22, 2003
- "Victory for Free Speech at Shippensburg: After Violating Terms of 2004 Settlement, University Once Again Dismantles Unconstitutional Speech Code," by William Creeley, October 24, 2008: In a victory for free speech on campus, yesterday Shippensburg University settled a federal lawsuit alleging that the university had violated the terms of a 2004 agreement wherein Shippensburg had agreed to rescind or reform its unconstitutional speech codes. The Alliance Defense Fund, which filed the complaint this past May, announced that Shippensburg has again agreed to honor the 2004 agreement. According to the ADF, which brought suit on behalf of a Christian student organization, the agreement was violated by the university's student government, which reinstituted several of the unconstitutional policies verbatim. The 2004 agreement, a victory for FIRE's first lawsuit filed as part of the Speech Code Litigation Project, was reached after a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction against Shippensburg's speech code.
- "Shippensburg Issues Statement on Speech Code Lawsuit, Blames Student Government for Constitutional Violations," by Kelly Sarabyn, May 15, 2008
- "Federal Lawsuit Filed against Shippensburg University for Violation of Settlement Repealing Unconstitutional Speech Codes," by Adam Kissel, May 7, 2008
- "Complaint claims Shippensburg U. 'speech codes' discriminated against religious group,"
by Don Aines, Herald-Mail, May 8, 2008
- "Shippensburg sued for reinstating speech codes,"
by Joe Murray, The Bulletin, May 8, 2008
- "When Speech Becomes a Crime,"
by Cinnamon Stillwell, San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 2006
- "Speech codes make universities intolerant,"
by Charles Mitchell, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.), January 5, 2006
- "Campus Conscience Police?,"
by Wendy McElroy, Fox News, December 21, 2005
- "Bad Frog Beer to 'intelligent design',"
by Amy Worden, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 17, 2005
- "Wronging student rights,"
by Greg Lukianoff, The Boston Globe, September 3, 2005
- "Liberating America’s Intellectual Gulags,"
by Charles Mitchell, Campus Magazine, April 15, 2005
- "Beware of universities that wear diversity label,"
by Walter Williams, Creators Syndicate, April 14, 2004
- "The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, and the Pasadena Star-News on FIRE,"
March 3, 2004
- "Campus rules overreach,"
USA Today, March 3, 2004
- "University alters code of conduct in wake of challenge,"
by Don Aines, The Herald-Mail, March 2, 2004
- "Shippensburg University: Freedom of Speech 101,"
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 2004
- "Shippensburg agrees to drop speech code rules,"
The Associated Press, February 25, 2004
- "College relents on speech policy,"
by Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times, February 25, 2004
- "Shippensburg U. Agrees to Change Conduct Code in Settlement With Advocacy Group,"
by Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2004
- "University agrees to change its speech code,"
by James O'Neill, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 2004
- "Code of Conduct amended at SU,"
by Akilah Nelson, Chambersburg Public Opinion, February 25, 2004
- "Free speech dilemmas; Free speech 'zones' and 'codes' go from campus to court,"
by Gary Young, National Law Journal, January 12, 2004
- "Confronting the campus radicals,"
by Phyllis Schlafly, Copley News Service, January 7, 2004
- "Survey: many college students fuzzy on first amendment rights,"
by Associated Press, Black Issues in Higher Education, January 1, 2004
- "College Lite: less filling tastes great?,"
by Andrew Grossman, Townhall.com, October 17, 2003
- "Code of silence: Let's return free speech to college campuses,"
by Hans Zeiger, The Seattle Times, September 20, 2003
- "Stifling freedom,"
The Washington Times, September 19, 2003
- "Free Speech on Campus?,"
by Hans Zeiger, American Daily, September 15, 2003
- "FIRE Hopes to Incinerate University Speech Codes,"
by Nathan Masters, CNSNews, September 9, 2003
- "College code of conduct rejected,"
by Bill Bergstrom, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 8, 2003
- "Federal Judge Orders Shippensburg U. Not to Enforce Portions of Its Conduct Code,"
by Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 8, 2003
- "Judge issues injunction in free speech case,"
by Tatiana Zarnowski, The Sentinel, September 6, 2003
- "Judge finds college rule infringes speech rights,"
by Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times, September 6, 2003
- "Court overrules campus speech code,"
by Lou Marano, United Press International, September 5, 2003
- "Ruling expected on lawsuit,"
by Tatiana Zarnowski, The Sentinel, September 3, 2003
- "Campus rights clarification,"
by Terry Eastland, The Washington Times, September 2, 2003
- "Ed. Dept. addresses speech codes,"
by Lina Shustarovich, The Daily Pennsylvanian, August 28, 2003
- "SU dismissed from lawsuit,"
by Tatiana Zarnowski, The Sentinel, August 26, 2003
- "Lawsuit's 'John Doe' identifies himself,"
by Tatiana Zarnowski, The Sentinel, August 2, 2003
- "Speech Codes: Alive and Well at Colleges...,"
by Harvey Silverglate and Greg Lukianoff, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 1, 2003
- "SU student claims college violated rights,"
by Jim Hook, The Public Opinion, July 30, 2003
- "Grad defends suit,"
by Tatiana Zarnowski, The Sentinel, July 30, 2003
- "'John Doe' plaintiff in college speech-code case ordered to ID self,"
NEPA News, July 22, 2003
- "Activists Still Fighting War of Free Speech on Campus,"
by John Elvin, Insight Magazine, June 17, 2003
- "Trial By FIRE,"
by Jean Angelo, University Business, June 1, 2003
- "'Speech Code' lawsuit draws SU's ire,"
by Nancy Mace, Record Herald, May 28, 2003
- "War of Words,"
by Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 2003
- "Speech Pathology,"
by Carl Takei and Harvey Silverglate, The Boston Phoenix, May 23, 2003
- "Speech Pathology,"
by Carl Takei and Harvey Silverglate, The Boston Phoenix, May 16, 2003
- "The Right to Speak Up,"
The Hartford Courant, May 14, 2003
- "Fire on American Campuses,"
by Richard Cravatts, The Washington Dispatch, May 7, 2003
- "University attacked by rights group,"
by Andrew Schotz, The Herald-Mail Online, May 4, 2003
- "Campus Freedom,"
Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 4, 2003
- "Free speech not matter of 'acceptability',"
The Yuma Sun, May 1, 2003
- "Race, Diversity, Speech Rights, Dress Codes,"
by Scott Norvell, FOXNews, April 28, 2003
- "College taken to court by free-speech group,"
by Jamie Cohen, The Badger Herald, April 28, 2003
- "Don't choke off speech,"
Omaha World-Herald, April 28, 2003
- "Stifling Speech,"
The Republican American, April 28, 2003
- "Lawsuit called frivolous,"
by Linda Franz, Shippensburg Sentinel, April 26, 2003
- "University 'Speech Codes' Under Fire,"
by Sue Collins, Plastic, April 25, 2003
- "Pa. college sued for speech code,"
by Sara Levine, The Daily Pennsylvanian, April 25, 2003
- "University Speech Codes Under Fire,"
by Steve Jordahl, Family News, April 25, 2003
- "Suit Challenges a University's Speech Code,"
by Tamar Lewin, The New York Times, April 24, 2003
- "University Free Speech Bolstered,"
by Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post, April 24, 2003
- "Campaign Against Campus Speech Codes Begins With a Lawsuit Against Shippensburg U.,"
by Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 24, 2003
- "Rights group's lawsuit targets Shippensburg University code,"
by Jan Murphy, Patriot-News, April 24, 2003
- "Some see no limits others 'favoritism',"
by Dan Miller, Patriot-News, April 24, 2003
- "Group takes aim at campus speech codes,"
by James O'Neill, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 2003
- "Group Sues Pa. Univ. Over 'Speech Codes',"
by JoAnn Loviglio, The Associated Press, April 23, 2003
- "University in Pa. sued over speech code,"
by Lou Marano, United Press International, April 23, 2003