Rhode Island College: Punishment of Professor for Refusal to Censor Speech
At Rhode Island College, Dr. Lisa Church was threatened with disciplinary action after refusing to punish two mothers for making constitutionally protected comments that offended another mother at RIC's cooperative preschool, of which Professor Church is the coordinator. The offended mother filed a "discrimination" complaint with RIC asking for "some action to be taken" against Church and others at the preschool. RIC college counsel Nicholas Long initially expressed reservations about the legality of proceeding with hearings regarding the complaint, but he later mysteriously reversed himself. RIC then advanced the formal hearing process, informing Church that she faced charges of "hostile environment racism." FIRE wrote to RIC President John Nazarian twice, each time asking him to call off the unconstitutional proceedings, but Nazarian refused to stop the hearings. Although in the end Associate Dean Scott Kane decided that no formal action needed to be taken, Nazarian still refused to concede that the case was a First Amendment violation. As a result, the RIC faculty union filed a grievance challenging the university's unconstitutional speech codes.
- "Rhode Island College Union Files Free Speech Grievance," October 1, 2004: In a welcome development for free speech on America's campuses, the faculty union at Rhode Island College has filed a grievance challenging the college's unconstitutional speech codes. The RIC/AFT Local 1819 filed the grievance after Professor Lisa Church was forced to submit to disciplinary hearings for refusing to punish constitutionally protected student speech.
- "Letter from Rhode Island ACLU to Rhode Island College President John Nazarian, September 10, 2004," September 10, 2004
- "Free Speech Victory at Rhode Island College," Free Speech Victory at Rhode Island Coll, September 10, 2004: Rhode Island College (RIC) Associate Dean Scott Kane stated in a decision yesterday that he believes no "further formal action" is required in the trial of Dr. Lisa Church, a professor who refused to censor constitutionally protected speech. While the decision is welcome news for Dr. Church, RIC still refuses to acknowledge the serious constitutional implications of its decision to investigate her actions and continues to enforce an unconstitutional speech code.
- "An Open Letter to President John Nazarian and Rhode Island College," September 3, 2004: Rhode Island College (RIC) has given Professor Lisa Church until today to attend an administrative hearing regarding a "discrimination" complaint filed against her for refusing to censor Constitutionally protected speech. FIRE has issued an open letter to RIC President John Nazarian asking him to end RIC's inappropriate and oppressive investigation immediately.
- "Letter from Rhode Island College President John Nazarian to FIRE, August 24, 2004," August 24, 2004
- "Rhode Island College to Try Professor for Refusing to Punish Protected Speech," August 24, 2004
- "FIRE Letter to Rhode Island College President John Nazarian, August 2, 2004," August 2, 2004
- "Fraternities Must Stand Up to Schools' Squelching Free Speech,"
by Greg Lukianoff and Matthew Vasconcellos, The Daily Journal, October 11, 2004
- "RIC faculty union challenges policy limiting speech,"
by Jennifer Jordan, Providence Journal, October 2, 2004
- "Freedom at RIC,"
Providence Journal, September 30, 2004
- "Breaking the Silence,"
by Minnie Quach, Guerrilla News Network, September 29, 2004
- "Freedom of speech: RIC ends the inquisition, not the debate,"
by Greg Lukianoff, The Providence Journal, September 22, 2004
- "RIC drops complaint against professor,"
by Tracy Breton, Providence Journal, September 12, 2004
- "RIC drops complaint against professor,"
by Associated Press, September 12, 2004
- "Professor faces deadline for hearing on discrimination complaint,"
by Associated Press, September 3, 2004
- "College discusses next move in discrimination case,"
by Brooke Donald, Associated Press, September 3, 2004
- "Attacking speech at RIC,"
by Edward Achorn, Providence Journal, August 31, 2004
- "Professor accused of not punishing students for racist remarks,"
by Associated Press, August 27, 2004
- "RIC hearing focuses on free speech,"
by Tracy Breton, Providence Journal, August 27, 2004