June 16, 2010
In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Court famously held that no state could prescribe an ideological orthodoxy. Yet more than sixty years later, the constitutional doctrines governing that proscription are in disarray. This article argue that Barnette's proscription should be understood as banning the state from intentionally utilizing non-rational methods to purposely shape citizens' ideological beliefs. After espousing this theory, the article will examine the unconstitutional condition and government speech doctrines, and demonstrate how a constitutional principle banning the prescription of orthodoxy provides them with a much-needed coherence.
November 18, 2009
FIRE is pleased to announce the publication of Defying the Constitution: The Rise, Persistence, and Prevalence of Campus Speech Codes in the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy. Authored by FIRE's Azhar Majeed, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, the article chronicles the existence of college and university speech codes nationwide and argues that maintaining them is untenable, given that every single court decision on speech codes has struck them down as unconstitutional. The article analyzes the First Amendment and free speech problems presented by speech codes, examines the harms that they perpetuate on the college campus, and responds to various arguments put forth by their proponents. It also offers potential ways to eradicate speech codes permanently from college campuses. FIRE expects the article to be an informative contribution to First Amendment scholarship, clarifying the state of the law on speech codes.
September 24, 2009
On September 24, 2009, FIRE interviewed Flemming Rose, cultural editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, about the censorship by Yale University Press of the controversial Mohammed cartoons he commissioned in 2005 to be published in his newspaper as an exercise of freedom of expression. The cartoons and several other previously uncontroversial images of Mohammed were removed from the book about the cartoons themselves, The Cartoons That Shook the World, in a widely criticized exercise of cowardice in the face of nonexistent threats.
June 19, 2009
On the second night of the 2009 Campus Freedom Network Conference, noted civil libertarian, author, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer gave a stirring and incisive speech on the historical context of campus repression, what its modern causes may be, and how to fight it.
The Misapplication of Peer Harassment Law on College and University Campuses and the Loss of Student Speech Rights
May 7, 2009
FIRE is pleased to announce the publication of Azhar Majeed's law review article, The Misapplication of Peer Harassment Law on College and University Campuses and the Loss of Student Speech Rights, in the Journal of College and University Law. The journal is published by the University of Notre Dame Law School and the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). In the article, Azhar argues that many colleges and universities have misapplied hostile environment harassment law on their campuses, resulting in severe harm to student speech rights.
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Resolving the Federal Circuit Split Over College Students’ First Amendment Rights
April 7, 2009
FIRE is pleased to post a law review article by Kelly Sarabyn, FIRE's Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow, entitled The Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Resolving the Federal Circuit Split Over College Students' First Amendment Rights. The article, previously published by The Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, offers a refutation to colleges who justify the censorship of student speech by claiming they possess the in loco parentis powers of grade schools. Given the current encroachments on university students' free speech rights, remembering the historical understanding of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment provides a timely reminder that university students are overwhelmingly adults and should be treated as such.
February 10, 2009
Minding the Campus posted this incisive examination of recent events at Brandeis University authored by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. Silverglate's and Creeley's article takes Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz to task for his handling of both the Rose Art Museum fiasco and the case of Professor Donald Hindley.
October 30, 2008
This issue of The Lantern features a comprehensive article by Adam Kissel on the thought reform program implemented in 2007 by the University of Delaware's Office of Residence Life, which used mandatory activities to coerce students to change their thoughts, values, attitudes, beliefs, and habits to conform to a highly specified social, environmental, and political agenda. The article explains the program's invasive thought-reform activities, the horrified reactions of students and the press, and FIRE's response one year ago this week.This article was among the first-prize winners of the National Education Writers Association (EWA) 2008 National Awards for Education Reporting.
October 15, 2008
With the presidential race between John McCain and Barack Obama the focus of national attention, political speech on our nation's campuses has come under sharp attack. In recent weeks, FIRE has investigated open and blatant attacks on political expression at colleges and universities across the country, from a previously unreported case at Oklahoma, to better-known cases at Illinois and Texas, to smaller schools across the country. This alarming trend towards silencing political expression has prompted FIRE to release a Policy Statement on Political Activity on Campus today.
Comment from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on the “Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Inquiry at Tufts University”
October 7, 2008
Since last year, FIRE has been fighting a protracted battle for liberty at Tufts University after the school found a conservative student publication, The Primary Source, guilty of "harassment" for publishing two satirical articles. In response to the uproar, Tufts created a "Task Force on Freedom of Expression at Tufts" that has produced a draft declaration on free expression and inquiry that fails to inspire freedom of expression and does not continue Tufts' historical protections of these freedoms. FIRE has released its official comment on the document, noting that adopting it without changes would jettison "over 150 years of tradition at Tufts" by revoking the university's "noble promises of academic freedom and free speech."
May 28, 2008
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff's extensive article on speech codes, entitled "Campus Speech Codes: Absurd, Tenacious, and Everywhere," was published by the National Association of Scholars in May 2008. The article is a must read, covering every aspect of speech codes: their origination, their current status on campus, why they continue to exist despite their clear unconstitutionality, and, finally, strategies to eradicate their presence on campus.