Texas Tech University: Speech Code Litigation
FIRE intervened at Texas Tech when students recognized its overbroad policies, which include a speech code that prohibited "insults," "ridicule," and "personal attacks," and restricted free speech to twenty foot-diameter gazebo referred to as a "Free Speech Zone." With FIRE's coordination and support, along with the Liberty Legal Institute and the Alliance Defense Fund, the students successfully sought and achieved elimination of the overbroad speech code. Covered widely in the media, the case at Texas Tech also drew support from over 900 students, who signed a petition for free speech on campus, as well as a student organization, Students for Free Speech (SFS), that staged a mock-funeral for free speech, including carrying a wooden coffin through campus in a procession. As FIRE's third victory in its Speech Code Litigation project, Texas Tech demonstrated once again that courts are ruthlessly intolerant of unconstitutional policies at public universities.
- "Victory for Free Speech at Texas Tech," October 5, 2004: In another victory for free speech on America's public campuses, a federal judge struck down Texas Tech University's speech code, ordered large areas of the university to be opened to free expression, and prohibited the university from enforcing other severe limitations on speech. Texas Tech was the third victory in FIRE's ongoing Speech Codes Litigation Project, which aims to overturn public college and university speech codes across the nation.
- "‘Roberts v. Haragan’ Opinion, September 30, 2004," Civil Action No: 5:03-CV-140-C, September 30, 2004
- "Texas Tech’s Restrictions on Political Speech," Texas Tech University Student Affairs Handbook 2003–04, January 1, 2004
- "Texas Tech’s Speech Zone Policy," Texas Tech University Student Affairs Handbook 2003-04, January 1, 2004
- "Texas Tech Loosens Speech Restrictions, But Some Repressive Policies Remain," December 9, 2003: In response to the pressure of a lawsuit coordinated by FIRE, Texas Tech University has gone from one tiny "Free Speech Gazebo" to acres of free speech zones, but too many speech restrictions remain. While the legal pressure on the university continues, students at Texas Tech have held events like a "funeral for free speech" to protest the "death" of free speech on their campus.
- "Texas Tech’s Sexual Harassment Handout," Texas Tech University Publication, June 12, 2003
- "Lawsuit Challenges Speech Code and “Free Speech Gazebo” at Texas Tech," June 12, 2003: Today, FIRE Legal Network attorneys launched a legal challenge to the unconstitutional speech code at Texas Tech University. This is the third lawsuit in FIRE’s national campaign to end the scandal of speech codes on America’s college and university campuses.
- "Complaint against Texas Tech University," June 12, 2003
- "Texas Tech’s Student Handbook 2002–03," Texas Tech University Publication, June 12, 2003
- "FIRE Letter to Texas Tech University President Donald Haragan, February 6, 2003," February 6, 2003
- "Texas Tech’s Examples of ‘Sexual Harassment’ (As Updated August 17, 2001)," Texas Tech University Policies, August 17, 2001
- "Texas Tech’s Mandate of ‘Good Taste’," Texas Tech's Regent's Rules, May 11, 2001
- "Hearing Today in 'Free Speech Zone' Lawsuit in Texas," by Adam Kissel, January 12, 2010
- "Universities’ Compliance with Speech Code Decisions Leaves Much to Be Desired ," by Erica Goldberg, September 24, 2009
- "This Month in FIRE History: Lawsuit Challenges Speech Code and "Free Speech Gazebo" at Texas Tech," by Claire Jenkins, June 30, 2009
- "UNCG in free speech battle,"
by Jane Stancill, News & Observer, December 17, 2005
- "Free speech policy called into question,"
by Maria Kornalian, The Daily Aztec (SDSU), October 24, 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
- "Colleges Must Educate Students About Value of Free Speech,"
by Greg Lukianoff, Daily Journal, December 29, 2004
- "Texas Tech's 'Free-Speech Zones' Are Unconstitutional, Judge Rules,"
by Scott Smallwood, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 15, 2004
- "Fraternities Must Stand Up to Schools' Squelching Free Speech,"
by Greg Lukianoff and Matthew Vasconcellos, The Daily Journal, October 11, 2004
- "Federal Judge Throws Out 'Free-Speech Zones' at Texas Tech,"
by Scott Smallwood, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 4, 2004
- "Federal judge blocks free speech zones at Texas Tech,"
by Associated Press, October 2, 2004
- "Free-speech ruling goes against Tech,"
by D. Lance Lunsford, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 2, 2004
- "Practical Advice for Fraternities Caught in the Battle for Free Speech on Campus,"
by Matthew Vasconcellos and Greg Lukianoff, Fraternal Law, September 16, 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
- "Universities become censorship zones,"
by Greg Lukianoff, The Detroit News, November 18, 2003
- "Laying Free Speech to Rest,"
by Sally Gunter, University Daily, November 4, 2003
by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Legal Affairs, November 1, 2003
- "Students turn in petitions, demand Whitmore response,"
by Sally Gunter, University Daily, October 20, 2003
- "Tech students fight for more speech freedom,"
by Sally Gunter, University Daily, October 16, 2003
- "Free speech petition gathers signatures,"
by Sally Gunter, University Daily, October 14, 2003
- "How Campus Censors Squelch Freedom of Speech,"
by Stuart Taylor, The Atlantic Monthly, July 14, 2003
- "Free Speech Curbs Attacked at Another University,"
by David Fein, CNSNews, June 16, 2003
- "Tech officials hit with free-speech lawsuit,"
by Sebastian Kitchen, Lubbock Online, June 13, 2003
- "Groups sue Texas Tech over free speech policies,"
Del Rio News Herald, June 13, 2003
- "Groups sue Texas Tech over free speech policies,"
Pecos Enterprise, June 13, 2003
- "Law student sues Texas Tech over free speech zones,"
by Delaney Hall, The Daily Texan, June 13, 2003
- "Lawsuit claims Tech curbing free speech,"
by Betsy Blaney, The Houston Chronicle, June 13, 2003