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Volume 10 / Number 2 Spring 2012 Newsletter of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education In This Issue FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for 2 From the Director of Legal and Free Speech I Public Advocacy n March, FIRE released our 2012 list of the Syracuse’s School of Education effectively expelled 3 Syracuse Drops Expulsion Hours 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The an education student who complained on his own after Press Release Huffington Post. Harvard is new to the list this Facebook page about a comment that he thought year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University was racially insulting. The student was required to 4 Ole Miss Scraps Speech Codes, of Cincinnati at the top of the list. FIRE’s video undergo counseling and diversity training just to Sets National Example by Protecting fellow also produced a video about the list, which earn a chance of readmission. Student Rights is available on YouTube. Widener University banned a law professor from 5 ‘Hot for Teacher’ Student Suspended “These colleges and universities have deeply violated campus because he had used hypothetical scenarios for Writing an Essay, Appeal Denied the principles that are supposed to animate higher in class involving the dean. The situation was 7 From the Campus Freedom Network education,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. resolved in a confidential settlement only after the “Sunlight is one of the best disinfectants, and the professor sued the university. 8 Eleventh Circuit Affirms Ruling against Former Valdosta State public needs to know which schools to watch out Last fall, Harvard University pressured all freshmen President in Victory for Student for.” to sign a morality pledge promising that they would Rights Although schools appear on the list in no particular exercise “civility,” threatening academic freedom 9 Student Group Files Suit Challenging order, the following list names the 12 worst by announcing a code of ethics before students University of Cincinnati’s ‘Free colleges in order of appearance: Speech Zone’ had taken a single course. Also, Harvard’s licensing 11 Fanning the Flames 1. University of Cincinnati 7. Michigan State University 2. Syracuse University 8. Colorado College 12 The Last Word 3. Widener University 9. Johns Hopkins University 4. Harvard University 10. Tufts University 5. Yale University 11. Bucknell University 6. St. Augustine’s College 12. Brandeis University Each of these schools earned its place on FIRE’s office prohibited Yale’s freshman class from list by severely violating the speech rights of using the names of famous Harvard dropouts Bill students, faculty members, or both. Gates or Mark Zuckerberg on T-shirts for the The University of Cincinnati tops the list due to its annual Harvard-Yale football game. In December, shockingly restrictive free speech zone that limits Harvard’s Arts & Sciences faculty effectively fired certain types of student expression to just 0.1% of a longtime professor because he had published a the school’s 137-acre campus. The policy, which controversial op-ed in India about ways to combat is now the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit, Islamic terrorism. 601 Walnut Street • Suite 510 threatens students with criminal prosecution for Philadelphia, PA 19106 Yale University remains on FIRE’s list after violations. The university has even refused to let 215.717.3473 tel students simply “walk around” outside the zone to censoring cartoon images of Mohammed in an 215.717.3440 fax gather petition signatures. academic book about those (continued on p. 4) www.thefire.org 1 From the Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley A s FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, I spend a significant amount of time thinking about how FIRE Werenczak complained about the community leader’s words on Facebook. A few months later, before the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, Syracuse administrators effectively expelled Werenczak because of his Facebook post, despite the fact that Werenczak had never been charged with any rules can ensure that colleges and violation. Just to gain the mere possibility of “readmittance,” universities suffer serious Syracuse required Werenczak to undergo anger-management consequences for violating counseling, complete diversity training, and author a paper student and faculty rights. demonstrating growth “regarding cultural diversity.” Hoping This is a crucially important to continue progress towards his degree as soon as possible, question for our work. After Werenczak completed these requirements, but Syracuse all, if colleges conclude that refused to review his request for readmission. they may trample on campus rights without sufficiently Frustrated by Syracuse’s silence as weeks went by without negative repercussions, then action, Werenczak contacted FIRE. When FIRE’s letter they have little incentive to comply with constitutional of protest went unanswered, we issued a national press obligations (at public universities) or their own stated release exposing Syracuse’s treatment of Werenczak. Within promises (at private ones). Our job here at FIRE is to make just 90 minutes, Syracuse contacted FIRE to notify us that sure that violating campus rights comes at a heavy cost to an Werenczak was going to be readmitted after all. Rather than institution’s reputation, and we have several powerful tools suffer through what was surely going to be a bruising news at our disposal. cycle, Syracuse quickly decided to do the right thing at long last. As we like to say here, universities are often loath to Negative publicity is perhaps FIRE’s most effective means defend in public that which they practice in private. We’ve of changing a university’s behavior. When it comes to public found that this is especially true in today’s hyperconnected relations, the vast majority of today’s universities more closelymedia environment, and Syracuse’s lightning-quick reversal resemble large corporations than the centers of academic is just one example of many. Visit our case archives (thefire. inquiry one might expect. They rely on slick message control, org/archives) for more. extensive media management, and even administrative positions dedicated solely Frustrated by Not all universities are willing to correct to protecting the university’s public rights violations in order to avoid bad image. Given this overwhelming desire Syracuse’s silence press. Disappointingly, some universities for narrative control, FIRE has found that as weeks went by would rather defend their decision to violate student and faculty rights, even the threat of a damning headline about a without action, if doing so taints their reputation and university’s shocking lack of respect for the expressive rights of its students can be Werenczak embarrasses their alumni and trustees. In an incredibly motivating force. contacted FIRE. these cases, FIRE turns to our second tool: litigation. A recent FIRE case at Syracuse University illustrates the power of negative press. In July 2011, Syracuse School of Now to be clear, FIRE itself does not directly litigate. Education graduate student Matthew Werenczak was tutoring While there are currently seven attorneys on FIRE’s staff, at a local middle school when he overheard a community FIRE does not represent students or faculty, nor do we leader making a comment he found racist and offensive. serve as a plaintiff. Rather, when a case (continued on p. 6) 2 Spring 2012 Syracuse Drops Expulsion Hours after FIRE Press Release U nder pressure from FIRE, Syracuse University’s School of Education readmitted a graduate student it had expelled from its teaching program after he complained saying, “Just making sure we’re okay with racism. It’s not enough I’m ... tutoring in the worst school in the city, I suppose I oughta be on Facebook about a racially charged black or stay in my own comment made in his presence by a side of town.” Werenczak community leader. Syracuse had told further wrote that “it Matthew Werenczak that his only kind of offends me that chance for reinstatement was to undergo I’m basically volunteering Matthew Werenczak a special course of diversity training and the summer at Danforth, counseling for “anger management”— getting up at 630, with no FIRE wrote Syracuse University all because he expressed annoyance AC, to help tutor kids and that’s not Chancellor Nancy Cantor on January over the community leader’s complaint enough.” 10, pointing out that the school’s that student teachers were coming action profoundly violated Syracuse’s from Syracuse rather than historically Werenczak was summoned to a promises in its Student Handbook that black colleges. Within 90 minutes of meeting with administrators shortly “[s]tudents have the right to express FIRE bringing his case to the public, before the school year began, but he themselves freely on any subject” and Werenczak was readmitted. was not charged with any infraction that “Syracuse University ... welcomes of Syracuse’s rules and never received and encourages the expression of “Syracuse kicked a student out of school a disciplinary hearing. On September dissent.” Cantor failed to respond, so for complaining on Facebook about 7, however, Social Studies Education FIRE took the case public on January comments he thought were racist, and Coordinator Jeffery A. Mangram 19. Within hours, Werenczak received a only reversed its decision in the face of sent Werenczak a letter stating that letter readmitting him to the School of public outrage,” said FIRE President the School of Education (SOE) was Education. Syracuse’s separate letter to Greg Lukianoff. “It’s long past time effectively expelling Werenczak because FIRE attempted to place the blame on for Syracuse to live up to its promises of his Facebook comments. In order to the School of Education’s accreditor, of free speech and stop treating its gain a mere chance of “re-admittance,” the National Council for Accreditation students as second-class citizens.” Werenczak was required to seek anger- of Teacher Education (NCATE). management counseling, complete On July 20, 2011, Werenczak was diversity training, and write a paper “It’s quite disturbing that Syracuse student teaching with Danforth Middle demonstrating growth “regarding called this ordeal the ‘standard School when he was introduced to cultural diversity.” process,’” said FIRE Vice President of a member of the city’s Concerned Programs Adam Kissel. “Is it normal to Citizens Action Program (CCAP). Hoping to return to school as soon expel someone without issuing charges Shortly afterward, in the presence of as possible, Werenczak fulfilled these or having a hearing, then to require Werenczak and one other white student unjustified requirements by December psychological counseling and mandate teacher, the CCAP member, who is 14. Weeks later, however, SOE had not diversity training for just the chance of black, said that he thought that the city yet even formed a committee to review readmission—all because of Facebook schools should hire more teachers from his case, and Mangram then warned comments? I doubt the School of historically black colleges. Werenczak Werenczak not to push SOE or it Education’s accreditor will agree.” later discussed the remark on Facebook, might “further delay the process.” 3 Ole Miss Scraps Speech Codes, Sets National Example by Protecting Student Rights T he University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) has eliminated its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating for free speech from FIRE. While two-thirds FIRE began working on speech code reform with Ole Miss administrators in February 2011. Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research, and Scott Wallace, Ole Ole Miss also revised a requirement that limited unplanned demonstrations and expressive activities to just a few designated “Speaker’s Corners.” That policy severely restricted the of the nation’s colleges maintain Miss’ Assistant Dean of Students, led ability of Ole Miss students to policies that clearly and substantially the effort. engage in spontaneous expressive restrict freedom of speech, Ole Miss activities on campus. Ole Miss’ new is now a proud exception, having Among the policies reformed by Ole policy now states that students may fully reformed four policies that Miss was a policy that prohibited express themselves elsewhere on restricted speech protected by the “hateful” internet expression. Not campus “so long as the expressive First Amendment. Ole Miss is the only is most “hateful” speech activities or related student conduct 15th school nationwide to earn a protected by the First Amendment, does not violate any other applicable green light, the fifth to do so in but reasonable people can also University policies.” Ole Miss also the last two years, and the first in disagree about what is “hateful,” revised residence life and harassment Mississippi. Ole Miss administrators leaving the definition open to policies that previously restricted worked in close contact with FIRE subjective interpretation and selective freedom of expression on campus. attorneys to address the university’s enforcement. Ole Miss rewrote speech codes. the policy to eliminate this vague In earning its green light rating and overly broad restriction, which from FIRE, Ole Miss joins James “The entire Ole Miss community— now prohibits only constitutionally Madison University, the University students, faculty, administrators, and unprotected speech. of Virginia, Arizona State University, alumni—has reason to be proud,” and The College of William & Mary said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. as the most recent institutions to “Ole Miss’ commitment to First have completely eliminated all written Amendment rights has made policies restricting protected student the university a shining expression on campus. example of how to respect and protect free expression on campus.” very cartoons, and banning an anti- (continued from p. 1) to come prepared for a contentious meeting about the Harvard T-shirt that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald referring school’s recovery from a destructive tornado. After he to Harvard students as “sissies.” Yale also suspended a sued, the college extended his punishment to ban him fraternity for five years for satirical outdoor chants, raised from last fall’s Homecoming. eyebrows when it gave academic justifications for closing Michigan State University, Colorado College, Johns down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study Hopkins University, Tufts University, Bucknell University, of Antisemitism not long after the center came under and Brandeis University also remain on FIRE’s “Red criticism for holding a conference about antisemitism, Alert” list for the “worst of the worst” colleges for free and almost canceled Yale’s annual “Sex Week” because speech. In each case, the school has severely violated free of its content. speech rights and has persistently refused to acknowledge St. Augustine’s College banned a student from graduation its mistake. Some schools even strengthened their speech merely for advising his fellow students on Facebook codes, making them even more restrictive. 4 Spring 2012 ‘Hot for Teacher’ Student Suspended for Writing an Essay, Appeal Denied O akland University has denied the appeal of a student who was barred from campus, suspended for three semesters, and required to undergo Snyder pressured Corlett to withdraw from his winter semester classes. FIRE wrote Oakland University President Gary D. Russi on December “sensitivity” counseling for authoring a class assignment in which he stated that he 16, explaining that Corlett’s creative found his instructors attractive. While the writing was fully protected under assignment specifically permitted students the First Amendment, which is to write creatively about any topic, the binding on public universities such as university bizarrely classified his “Hot Oakland University. FIRE explained for Teacher” essay as “unlawful.” Joseph that Corlett’s “germane, class-related Corlett came to FIRE for help. expression” was protected speech. “Oakland University made up its own Oakland University Assistant General definition of the ‘law’ in order to punish a Counsel Boyd C. Farnam replied on student for his creative writing,” said FIRE December 23, stating that Corlett President Greg Lukianoff. “The special Joseph Corlett would have to face a disciplinary irony here is that Joseph asked several times hearing. Corlett was charged with if it was really okay to write anything, and several times he “unlawful individual activities” on the basis of the writing was told it was.” journal alone. Although Farnam had promised that Corlett Corlett’s ordeal began in early November 2011 when he could present “whatever evidence” he deemed “appropriate submitted his writing journal to his Advanced Critical and relevant,” Corlett was prevented from presenting Writing professor. Her course materials describe this evidence explaining his free speech rights at his disciplinary “daybook” as “a place for a writer to try out ideas and hearing on January 19. record impressions and observations,” and state that it Corlett was found guilty and sanctioned with a three- should contain “freewriting/brainstorming” and “creative semester suspension, a ban from campus with a threat of entries.” According to Corlett, he verified with his professor arrest for criminal trespass if he came back, probation, and that he could write about any topic. In other assignments “counseling” for “sensitivity issues” before he can ever take in the course, he had written on sexual topics and received classes again. high grades. One entry in Corlett’s journal, titled “Hot for Teacher,” Corlett appealed with the help of attorney Brian Vincent, quotes the 1984 Van Halen song of the same name and tells a member of FIRE’s Legal Network. His appeal was a story of being worried about being distracted in class by evaluated by Snyder, who refused to recuse herself. Snyder attractive professors. A separate September 23 entry states denied his appeal on March 5, asserting that Oakland was that his professor is like Ginger from the television series not bound by “technical legal definitions and standards” Gilligan’s Island, while another professor is like the character when punishing Corlett. Mary Ann. FIRE asked President Russi to intervene on March 8, On November 29, his professor announced to some of her reminding him of Oakland University’s legal and moral colleagues, “Either Mr[.] Corlett leaves campus or I do.” On obligation to respect First Amendment rights on campus, December 7, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President but Russi refused to do so, claiming that Oakland never of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh and Vice President for branded Corlett a criminal despite finding him guilty of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Mary Beth “unlawful individual activities” for writing the essay. 5 (continued from p. 2) requires counsel, I refer it to FIRE’s Tired of TCC’s stubborn refusals to abide by the First Legal Network, a nationwide group of attorneys dedicated Amendment, FIRE and the American Civil Liberties Union to defending rights on campus. For example, after former of Texas worked in conjunction with local attorneys to file Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes was a constitutional challenge to TCC’s speech codes on behalf expelled for engaging in peaceful protest against the planned of Smith and Schwertz. Not only did the federal district construction of parking garages on campus, neither the court issue a restraining order preventing TCC from limiting university nor the Board of Regents would budge until FIRE student speech to its tiny “free speech zone,” prompting secured for Barnes the services of noted First Amendment the school to voluntarily dismantle the zone, it also struck attorney Robert Corn-Revere. Suddenly, the Board of down another TCC policy preventing students from holding Regents was willing to reverse Barnes’ expulsion. (What a campus events in association with off-campus groups. In surprise!) But this was too little, too late, and Barnes brought addition to the embarrassment of fighting a losing battle a federal civil rights suit against the Board of Regents and against the Bill of Rights, TCC was ordered by the court former VSU president Ronald Zaccari. to pay over $240,000 in attorneys’ fees to the students’ lawyers. That’s a lot of taxpayer money to waste in defense The lawsuit has generated powerful precedent for FIRE: of censorship. In February, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied Zaccari’s appeal, finding that But while FIRE is always prepared to issue embarrassing because he violated Barnes’ clearly established constitutional press releases or coordinate a lawsuit, we’ve found that due process rights by expelling him working proactively to prevent without a hearing, Zaccari may be Litigation can also be rights abuses before they occur is found personally liable for damages. This a powerful incentive important, too. To be effective, FIRE important courtroom victory realized a central aim of FIRE’s efforts: piercing because losing federal must employ not only the proverbial “sticks,” but the “carrots,” as well. the defense of “qualified immunity” civil rights lawsuits hurts That’s why we’re very pleased to work for an administrator who had clearly colleges financially. directly with university administrators violated a student’s constitutional who want to reform their institutions’ rights. (In the last several years, FIRE has taken several steps speech codes before a problem arises, and to issue press towards eliminating the possibility of qualified immunity releases praising those schools that eliminate their speech for university administrators, including publishing legal codes and earn FIRE’s highest “green light” rating. Recently, scholarship on the issue and sending two national mailings we had the pleasure of doing just that when the University via certified mail to presidents of universities that maintain of Mississippi became our 15th green light institution by unconstitutional speech codes.) Legal victories like this make revising four policies that had restricted First Amendment FIRE’s work easier elsewhere, as would-be censors at other rights on campus. In our national press release, we noted colleges realize that violating student rights may have severe with pride that Ole Miss administrators had worked directly consequences for them individually. with FIRE attorneys to identify the problems and enact fixes. Litigation can also be a powerful incentive because losing FIRE works hard for your support, and we think our federal civil rights lawsuits hurts colleges financially. Just ask results speak for themselves. In order to change the campus Tarrant County College (TCC), a recent target of FIRE’s culture and make sure that free speech and civil liberties are Speech Code Litigation Project. TCC repeatedly refused to cherished, not repressed, at our nation’s colleges, we will allow students Clayton Smith and John Schwertz, members continue to make sure that institutions violating rights pay of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, to participate a heavy price for doing so, while institutions that respect in an “empty holster” protest on TCC grounds. fundamental freedoms receive our respect and praise. 6 Spring 2012 From the FIRE Celebrates Free Speech Week on Campus This spring, FIRE teamed up with Students For Liberty to encourage students across the country to promote free expression on campus during Free Speech Week, held April 1-8. To mark the occasion, 72 student groups distributed FIRE materials and pocket-sized constitutions on campus. More than 20 groups organized other expressive events. Many decided to build Free Speech Walls to invite student discourse at schools including American University, Harvard University, Boston University, and the Adam Kissel speaks at Texas State University of Texas San Antonio. The CFN also worked with students to arrange FIRE speaking events at seven schools across the country. More than 250 students, faculty, and administrators attended these events to hear about FIRE’s work promoting student rights. For students who could not attend one of these talks in person, we also hosted FIRE’s first-ever webinar on Tuesday, April 3. This interactive online discussion featured Will Creeley explaining the case law supporting speech rights on campus. We at FIRE had a great time celebrating Free Speech Week, and we were thrilled to help so many students raise awareness of free speech on campus! However, student rights on campus need our help year-round. To learn more about the CFN’s many resources for students, check out thecfn.org. Register today for the 2012 CFN Conference July 27-29, 2012 Each summer, the CFN Conference brings together students from across the country to meet fellow advocates for free speech on campus and learn how they can promote free speech at their schools. To learn more, visit thecfn.org/conference. Isaac Rosenbloom (left) and Hayden Barnes (right), subjects of FIRE cases, were panelists at the 2011 CFN Conference. 7 Eleventh Circuit Affirms Ruling against Former Valdosta State President I n a victory for student rights, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a unanimous decision in February in Barnes v. Zaccari, holding that former Valdosta State University (VSU) President Ronald M. Zaccari may be found personally Zaccari could lose his “qualified immunity” from suit for ignoring that right. Zaccari has appealed the ruling, asking the Eleventh Circuit to review the case en banc. Barnes’ ordeal began in the spring of 2007, when he liable for violating the due process rights of former VSU peacefully protested Zaccari’s plan to spend $30 million student T. Hayden Barnes. Barnes first came to FIRE for of student fee money to construct two parking garages on help in October 2007. campus. By posting flyers and sending emails to Zaccari, student and faculty governing bodies, and the Board of “This landmark ruling from the Eleventh Circuit leaves Regents of the University System of Georgia, Barnes no doubt that university administrators who choose to expressed his concerns and proposed what he saw as ignore the due process rights of their students do so at environmentally friendly alternatives. Barnes also penned their peril,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “For a letter to the editor of the VSU student newspaper about too long, college administrators have blatantly ignored the proposed parking garage plans and wrote to Zaccari their students’ constitutional rights when they deemed it to ask for an exemption from the mandatory student fee convenient. With this decision, it appears that courts are designated for funding the construction. finally ready to make them personally pay for that abuse of power.” In response, Zaccari personally ordered that Barnes be “administratively withdrawn” from VSU, ignoring Joined by 14 other organizations concerned about student the concerns raised by members of his administration. rights on public campuses, FIRE authored and filed an Zaccari claimed that Barnes presented a “clear and amici curiae brief with the Eleventh Circuit in April 2011 present danger” to both Zaccari and the VSU campus urging this result. FIRE’s brief argued that public college on the basis of a cut-and-paste collage Barnes had posted administrators who violate the constitutional rights of on his Facebook page that included pictures of Zaccari, students must be held liable for doing so. In yesterday’s a parking deck, and the caption “S.A.V.E.—Zaccari opinion, the Eleventh Circuit found that Barnes “had Memorial Parking Garage.” Barnes was given no notice a clearly established constitutional right to notice and or opportunity to defend himself, and came to FIRE for a hearing before being removed from VSU” and that help. In January 2008, Barnes filed suit in cooperation 8 Spring 2012 with eminent First Amendment attorney and FIRE Legal Legal and Public Advocacy. “It’s been nearly five years Network member Robert Corn-Revere of Davis Wright since Hayden was unconstitutionally kicked out of Tremaine in Washington, D.C. Valdosta State, but justice is on its way.” The Eleventh Circuit’s decision affirms a federal district FIRE has aided Barnes since learning of his case in court’s September 2010 ruling that denied qualified October 2007. FIRE wrote repeatedly to University immunity to Zaccari at this stage in the proceedings. System of Georgia officials, urging them to undo VSU’s The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of unlawful actions and uphold the Constitution within Georgia found that because Zaccari expelled Barnes the university system. Under pressure from FIRE and without notice or a hearing, Zaccari violated Barnes’ the federal lawsuit against Zaccari and other VSU constitutional right to due process. In its opinion, the administrators, the Board of Regents finally reversed district court ruled that because Zaccari ignored “clearly Barnes’ expulsion early in 2008, and Zaccari retired established” law in punishing Barnes, Zaccari could not months earlier than planned. Under further pressure avail himself of the defense of “qualified immunity,” and from FIRE, former VSU President Patrick J. Schloss could be found personally liable for damages. dismantled VSU’s unconstitutional free speech zone in September 2008. Zaccari and the Board of Regents appealed the district court’s ruling to the Eleventh Circuit in October FIRE’s amici curiae brief to the Eleventh Circuit was 2010, and oral arguments in the case were heard joined by the American Booksellers Foundation for in Montgomery, Alabama, in November 2011. Corn- Free Expression, the American Civil Liberties Union of Revere argued Barnes’ case. While February’s ruling Georgia, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, upheld the district court’s denial of qualified immunity the Cato Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to Zaccari, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a breach of Feminists for Free Expression, the Individual Rights contract finding against the Board of Regents, holding Foundation, the Libertarian Law Council, the National that the State of Georgia had not consented to waive Association of Scholars, the National Coalition Against its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal Censorship, the National Youth Rights Association, court for breach of contract claims. Reason Foundation, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, and Students For Liberty. Atlanta-based attorney Cory “The Eleventh Circuit’s decision is a clear win for G. Begner of Begner & Begner, P.C. represented FIRE student rights,” said Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of and all signatory organizations in the brief’s filing. Student Group Files Suit Challenging University of Cincinnati’s ‘Free Speech Zone’ O n February 22, a student group filed suit against the University of Cincinnati in federal district court, alleging that the university’s tiny “free speech zone” “right to work” ballot initiative, but the request was denied. Morbitzer was told that if any YAL members were seen “walk[ing] around campus” gathering signatures, campus security would be University policy further requires that all expressive activity in the free speech zone be registered with the university a full ten working days in advance, threatening that “[a]nyone violating this violates the First Amendment. The alerted. policy may be charged with trespassing.” University of Cincinnati chapter of The suit challenges the constitutionality Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) The University of Cincinnati (UC) of both requirements and was filed by and its president, student Christopher requires all “demonstrations, pickets, Ohio’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Morbitzer, sought permission to gather and rallies” to be held in a “Free Speech Law in cooperation with FIRE in the signatures and talk to students across Area” that comprises just 0.1% of United States District Court for the campus in support of a statewide the university’s 137-acre West Campus. Southern District of Ohio, Western 9 Division. Ohio attorney Curt C. Hartman joined the 1851 walk around,” and stated that “if we are informed that you Center’s Ryan Walters as co-counsel. are, Public Safety will be contacted.” “The University of Cincinnati is a public, taxpayer-supported After filing suit, Morbitzer and YAL came to a temporary institution that brazenly refuses to respect the First agreement with UC, providing that UC would stop Amendment rights of its students,” FIRE President Greg quarantining the group’s advocacy to the university’s free Lukianoff said. “Herding students who wish to engage in core speech zone while the legal proceedings continued. The expressive activity into a tiny ‘free speech zone’ may make life parties are preparing for a May 30 hearing. easier for campus bureaucrats, but it betrays the idea of the university as a true marketplace of ideas. FIRE has warned UC has been on notice that its policy is unconstitutional for UC in the past, and now the university must answer for its more than four years. FIRE named UC’s policy its “Speech disregard for free speech in federal court.” Code of the Month” in December 2007, calling it “truly shameful” that a public university “threatens students with Morbitzer and YAL asked the court to ensure that they criminal prosecution merely for exercising their constitutionally be allowed to advocate throughout campus for the Ohio protected rights outside of the paltry area it has designated for Workplace Freedom Amendment, a recently announced free speech.” FIRE also wrote to UC in December 2008, ballot initiative. To qualify for inclusion on the ballot in explaining that UC’s free speech zone represented a serious November, supporters of the amendment must gather at threat to liberty on campus. least 385,000 valid signatures by July 9, 2012. On February 9, Morbitzer and YAL requested permission to immediately FIRE’s efforts have defeated similar free speech zones on begin collecting signatures and discussing the merits of the campuses across the nation, including the University of amendment with their fellow students across campus, citing North Carolina at Greensboro, West Virginia University, the the need to get started right away. University of Nevada at Reno, Citrus College in California, Valdosta State University in Georgia, and Texas Tech UC denied that request, instead assigning the group to the University. “Free Speech Area” and imposing a waiting period. UC even told Morbizter that he and his group were “not permitted to “UC’s illiberal decision to restrict this kind of political speech to one tenth of one percent of its campus is shocking enough, but making students register to use that space ten working days in advance is even worse,” said FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. “UC cannot deny its students their First Amendment rights. FIRE is confident that UC’s free speech zone will be the latest in a long line to fall in federal court.” UC’s West Campus, with the ‘Free Speech Zone’ marked in green. The zone is less than .1% of the campus. 10 Spring 2012 Fanning the Flames: Become an Eternal Flame Are you concerned about the state of free speech on our nation’s campuses? Are those dearest to you currently enrolled in college or planning to be in the future? About This By investing in FIRE’s work, you can leave a legacy of liberty that will have an Publication impact far beyond your own lifetime and ensure that your children’s and grandchildren’s education isn’t left to chance. The FIRE Quarterly is published four times per year by the Foundation for FIRE offers our supporters many planned giving options that not only benefit FIRE Individual Rights in Education. and the thousands of students and faculty that we serve—they can also benefit you. The mission of FIRE is to defend and Through planned giving, FIRE donors can receive personal benefits that include: sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. 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I would love to speak with you to discover the perfect gift that meets FIRE is a charitable and educational the needs of you and your family and fulfills your philanthropic vision, so that you tax-exempt foundation within the may be the next inductee into the Eternal Flame Society. meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to You can reach me at 215-717-3473 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking FIRE are deductible to the fullest extent forward to hearing from you. provided by tax laws. Alisha C. Glennon Director of Development HOW TO REACH US: P.S. If you decide to include FIRE in your estate plans or have already done so, please let us know so we can honor you in the Eternal Flame Society! The easiest way to include FIRE in your estate plans is by leaving us a bequest. Typical bequest language is as follows: 601 Walnut Street • Suite 510 Philadelphia, PA 19106 “I, [name], of [city, state, zip code] give, devise and bequeath to the Foun- 215.717.3473 tel dation for Individual Rights in Education whose current legal address is 215.717.3440 fax 601 Walnut St., Suite 510, Philadelphia, PA 19118 the sum of $______ [or www.thefire.org percentage of the estate or description of property or “rest, residue and remainder of my estate”] for its general purposes (or for the particular purposes the donor designates).” Bequests are revocable at any time, and you retain full use of the assets until the will is final, making this an attractive option to many people. 11 NON PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID PHILA PA PERMIT 5634 601 Walnut Street • Suite 510 Philadelphia, PA 19106 www.thefire.org FIRE thanks all of our supporters for their dedication to FIRE and our mission. • • • If you would like to donate to FIRE, please visit thefire.org/support or call 215.717.3473. The Last Word Robert Shibley on ‘Fox & Friends’ F IRE’s Robert Shibley appeared on the popular show Fox & Friends this April. Robert discussed FIRE’s recently published feature “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” in The Huffington Post, and he briefly explained what some of the schools did to get themselves on this year’s list. The schools he discussed included the University of Cincinnati, Harvard University, and Syracuse University. The show aired on the morning of Sunday, April 1, and it is now available online at the Fox & Friends website or through our blog The Torch! Robert (right) with Clayton Morris on Fox & Friends 12 Spring 2012
"FIRE Quarterly, Spring 2012"