University of Florida: Reaffirmation of Right to Show Documentary
The University of Florida drew criticism from FIRE after the administration was critical of students promoting an event showing the controversial film "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West." Several student groups-including UF's Law School Republicans, College Republicans, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Law Students Association-had posted fliers to advertise a November 13, 2007, screening of the film. The fliers used the headline, "RADICAL ISLAM WANTS YOU DEAD." Vice President for Student Affairs Patrica Telles-Irvin e-mailed all students at UF stating that "the groups that posted [the fliers] owe the campus, and particularly campus members of the Islamic faith, an apology and a clarification." FIRE wrote to Telles-Irvin, reminding her that the students were protected under the First Amendment, and warning the administration's message was creating a "chilling effect" on campus. Telles-Irvin then wrote all UF students, assuring them of their right to free speech, and making clear the students promoting the film would not be punished.
- "Victory for Free Speech at the University of Florida," December 10, 2007: Student groups at the University of Florida will be allowed to promote the controversial film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” following a controversy with the school’s administration. FIRE intervened after a university official emailed the student body demanding an apology from the student groups sponsoring the film. The university subsequently reaffirmed its commitment to free expression and assured both FIRE and its student body that students can promote and view the film.
- "University of Florida Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin Response to FIRE, December 10, 2007," December 10, 2007
- "FIRE's letter to University of Florida Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin, November 29, 2007," November 29, 2007
- "The strange case of ‘Obsession’ at the University of Florida,"
by Luke Sheahan, Family Security Matters, January 28, 2008
- "McCollum blasts UF over free speech,"
by Jack Stripling, The Gainesville Sun, December 12, 2007
- "Coming attractions,"
Special Report with Brit Hume, December 12, 2007