; The FIRE Quarterly: Volume 8, Number 2
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

The FIRE Quarterly: Volume 8, Number 2


  • pg 1
									Volume 8 / Number 2                                                                                                                                                  Spring 2010

                                                               Newsletter of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

               In This Issue:                                Victory for Freedom of the Press: UC San Diego
                2 My New Book Will Ask: Is College
                  Censorship Destroying Our                       Ends Unconstitutional Funding Freeze
                  Society's "Sophistication Machine"
                                                           In a victory for freedom of the press on campus, the
                3 Victory for Free Speech on Campus:       student government of the University of California,
                  Federal Court Strikes Down Gun           San Diego (UCSD) voted on March 10 to end a
                  Rights Protest Restrictions at Tarrant   moratorium on funding for student media. The vote
                  County College                           restores funding for student media organizations and
                                                           makes no changes to the current policy governing
                4 Victory for Free Speech at Temple        student media. FIRE worked with several of the
                  University As Unconstitutional
                                                           organizations to end the funding freeze.
                  Security Fee is Withdrawn; Policy
                  Still Troubling                          “It took far too long, but with last night’s vote, UCSD’s
                5 FIRE Files Supreme Court Amicus          student government has finally overruled its president’s
                  Brief Supporting Freedom of              grievous disregard for the First Amendment,” said FIRE             Ustav Gupta speaks to UCSD administrators and students
                  Association in Christian Legal           Vice President Robert Shibley. “As FIRE and other civil                         Photo credit: NBC San Diego
                  Society v. Martinez
                                                           liberties organizations have repeatedly pointed out during
                6 From the Campus                          the past two weeks, eliminating outlets for student dialogue
                                                                                                                          racial stereotypes, asked female partygoers to dress as
                  Freedom Network                          at precisely the time they are most needed was a terrible—
                                                                                                                          “ghetto chicks,” and invited partygoers to “experience the
                                                           and unconstitutional—mistake.”
                8 New Reprimand Issued Against                                                                            various elements of life in the ghetto.” As controversy
                  Professor for Unspecified ‘Offensive’    The unconstitutional funding freeze was unilaterally           roiled campus in the week following the invitation’s
                  Speech Without Any Notice,
                  Evidence, or Hearing                     enacted on February 18 by Utsav Gupta, President of the        publication, student media organization The Koala
                                                           Associated   Students    of   UCSD      (UCSD’s     student    broadcast a defense of the party on UCSD’s Student Run
                9 Ford Hall Forum Honors FIRE with         government), in the wake of controversy over a party           Television (SRTV), including language that many persons
                  2010 First Amendment Award /
                                                           invitation for an off-campus event called the “Compton         on campus found highly offensive. In response, Gupta took
                  Johns Hopkins Student Government
                  Association Asks President to            Cookout.” Gupta had argued that his repressive actions         immediate action to shut down the broadcast and then the
                  Defend Free Speech                       were necessary to combat “fracturing of the student body       entire station because the broadcast was “deeply offensive
                                                           on an issue” and “hateful speech.”                             and hurtful.”
                10 From the Director of the
                   Individual Rights Education Program     FIRE condemned the media shutdown, which denied                Chancellor Fox and other UCSD administrators promised
                11 Fanning the Flames:                     funding to 33 student media organizations, in a letter sent    “aggressive investigations” into possible disciplinary
                    Give Half for Liberty                  to Gupta and UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. FIRE’s            violations. FIRE has warned UCSD that punishing students
                                                           letter to Gupta and Fox pointed out that these actions         for protected speech would violate the First Amendment.
                12 The Last Word: FIRE Hires Sweidy
                   Stata Video Fellow                      violate the constitutional rights of the organizations
                                                                                                                          “Gupta’s shockingly shortsighted and unconstitutional
                                                           involved, not least because the student government is an
                                                                                                                          media shutdown denied his constituents a forum for
                                                           agent of UCSD and is thus bound by the First Amendment.
                                                                                                                          discussing the controversy that engulfed UCSD’s campus,”
                                                           The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego &
                                                                                                                          said Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public
                                                           Imperial Counties and the Student Press Law Center also
                                                                                                                          Advocacy. “The answer to controversial speech must always
                                                           denounced the freeze, and a Facebook group opposing the
                                                                                                                          be more speech, and never censorship. Hopefully, UCSD’s
                                                           mass censorship gained more than 1,500 members.
               601 Walnut Street • Suite 510                                                                              student government has now learned that shutting down
               Philadelphia, PA 19106                      The invitation for the February 15 party, which first          the media in a time of crisis is the hallmark of an illiberal
               215.717.3473 tel                            appeared on social networking site Facebook, involved          dictatorship, not American democracy.”
               215.717.3440 fax
               www.thefire.org                                                                                                                                                         1
    My New Book Will Ask: Is
       College Censorship
     Destroying Our Society's
    "Sophistication Machine"?                                                                                                     by Greg Lukianoff

    I’ve been defending student and faculty rights for nearly a decade now, and it never ceases to amaze me how oblivious
    most people are to the absurd abuses of student and faculty rights on campus. I firmly believe that if more people knew
    how common these violations of free speech, due process, and other basic rights are on campus, the public will to end
    those abuses would be virtually unstoppable.
    This brings me to my big project for 2010: I’m working on a book               demographic shifts, to out-of-control gerrymandering—that may be
    highlighting the literally hundreds of cases I’ve worked on involving          contributing to this polarization. But I do believe that, while higher
    crazy abuses of student and faculty rights. I intend to demonstrate how        education could help us reverse or push back this process of declining
    campus censorship, far from being a niche concern applicable only to           national dialogue, it is instead failing in its responsibility to foster serious,
    those on campus, is a threat to the functioning of our democracy as a          thoughtful debate and discussion.
                                                                                   In my opinion, higher education is supposed to work as a sort of
    Originally, as I started this book project, my focus was on what I call        “sophistication machine” for our society. That is, it is supposed to help
    “unlearning liberty”: that is, the frightening tendency of students to learn   us produce a citizenry with a deep, nuanced, complex, and multifaceted
    from omnipresent speech codes (71% of public campuses have                     understanding of the issues confronting our nation and world. Many
    laughably unconstitutional codes) and the bad examples of                      critics of higher education point to ideological imbalance within the
    administrators that censorship is not only an acceptable option, but           faculty, grade inflation and diminishing academic rigor, or the increased
    actually something that good people do. The most chilling examples of          corporatization of the university as factors that prevent it from fulfilling
    students “unlearning liberty” are the relatively routine instances of          this crucial function. These are all problems worth investigating. But I
    students destroying (and, indeed, in some cases burning) student               believe the most important factor interfering with the success and
    newspapers that print articles with which they disagree. If students learn     credibility of higher education is the continuing maintenance of campus
    such terrible lessons about free and open discourse in higher education,       speech codes and other policies and practices designed to discourage and
    it genuinely poses a long-term threat to the health of our pluralistic         even punish free speech and meaningful dissent.
                                                                                   As long as speech codes mandate that campus judiciaries investigate
    Lately, however, I am increasingly interested in how 20 years of campus        clearly protected speech, and “offensive” arguments can be and are
    speech codes and the common punishment of dissenting opinions is               censored on campus, the difficult process of learning through debate
    affecting our society right now. My premise is that the state of American      and discussion cannot properly take place. Without robust debate and
    discourse has truly reached a new low over the past decade. While I            discussion, we can only expect the national level of discourse to—in the
    certainly remember some of the uglier political moments of the 1990s,          best case—stay the same, or worse, become even more polarized.
    the unreflective, hyper-partisan mentality currently gripping our country      Meanwhile, when college administrators short-circuit the academic
    makes the ‘90s look downright harmonious. Unfortunately, it only seems         marketplace of ideas, they utterly undermine any hope the academy
    to be getting worse by the day, and I believe higher education is part of      might have of being taken seriously as a national resource on many
    the reason why.                                                                important social and political issues. Therefore, I argue that until campus
                                                                                   censorship and speech codes are a thing of the past, the sophistication
    I am not arguing that this degradation in national discourse is exclusively    machine is and will remain broken.
    the fault of higher education. One could write a dozen books on the
    many different factors—from the rise of the new media, to massive

2            Spring 2010
Victory for Free Speech on
  Campus: Federal Court
 Strikes Down Gun Rights
   Protest Restrictions at
  Tarrant County College
                      In a striking victory for the First Amendment on campus, a federal district court in Texas ruled that a number of
                      restrictions on students’ speech at Tarrant County College (TCC) are unconstitutional. In his decision, U.S. District Judge
                      Terry R. Means found that TCC’s reliance on a policy prohibiting “disruptive activities” to restrict students Clayton Smith
                      and John Schwertz from holding an “empty holster” protest violated the First Amendment.

“This ruling is just the latest in an unbroken string of legal victories,       policy, but TCC also introduced the unconstitutional ban on
dating back more than twenty years, over unconstitutional campus speech         cosponsorship. The students’ lawsuit was amended to challenge this new
codes,” FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley said. “FIRE welcomes the             policy and to ask the court to invalidate the former free speech zone
district court’s decision as yet another clear confirmation that restrictions   policy because TCC otherwise would be able to reinstate it following the
on protected speech—especially core political speech—simply will not            conclusion of the lawsuit. Judge Means struck down the cosponsorship
stand in a court of law.”                                                       ban, stating that “the Court cannot imagine how the provision could have
                                                                                been written more broadly.”
In addition to ruling that students are entitled to protest by wearing
empty holsters in classrooms, hallways, and public areas of campus, Judge       Judge Means also held that the challenge to the free speech zone was
Means ruled that TCC’s sweeping prohibition on “cosponsorship,” which           moot because there was no indication that TCC would revert to the
forbade students and faculty from holding campus events in association          discredited policy.
with any “off-campus person or organization,” prevented TCC students
                                                                                “Even before yesterday’s ruling, TCC’s free speech zone had fallen due to
“from speaking on campus on issues of any social importance” and was
                                                                                FIRE’s efforts. Now, Judge Means has struck down TCC’s latest attempt
therefore “overly broad” and “unconstitutional on its face.” Smith’s and
                                                                                to restrict free speech on campus,” FIRE Director of Legal and Public
Schwertz’s protest was designed to coincide with the efforts of a national
                                                                                Advocacy Will Creeley said. “Because Smith and Schwertz took a stand
pro-concealed-carry organization, Students for Concealed Carry on
                                                                                to defend their constitutional right to free expression on campus, all TCC
Campus (SCCC).
                                                                                students now enjoy the robust First Amendment rights to which they are
The lawsuit was filed on November 4, 2009, by Fort Worth attorney               legally entitled.”
Karin Cagle in cooperation with FIRE and the American Civil Liberties
                                                                                FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation Project, an initiative to dismantle
Union of Texas (ACLU-TX). On November 6, 2009, Judge Means
                                                                                unconstitutional speech codes on public university campuses, has won
issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting TCC from quarantining
                                                                                crucial victories at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, Texas Tech
protected speech to the school’s tiny “free speech zone,” holding that
                                                                                University, the State University of New York at Brockport, Citrus College
continued operation of the free speech zone would result in “immediate
                                                                                in California, San Francisco State University, and the California State
and irreparable injury” to students’ free speech rights. At that point, TCC
                                                                                University System—and now at Tarrant County College.
already had prohibited students from participating in SCCC empty
holster protests for two years in a row.

In December, following the district court’s order, TCC voluntarily revised
several policies challenged by the lawsuit, including the free speech zone

         Victory for Free Speech at Temple
       University As Unconstitutional Security
       Fee is Withdrawn; Policy Still Troubling
    Temple University has withdrawn an unconstitutional, after-the-fact security fee levied by the university on a student group for hosting a
    presentation last October by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is on trial in his native country for his controversial remarks about terrorism
    and Islam. Temple dropped its demand for an extra security fee under pressure from FIRE. Temple’s policy for controversial events, however,
    remains ambiguous and unacceptably arbitrary.

    “Temple University has finally acquiesced to the First Amendment and            Supreme Court’s decision. Four other public universities—the University
    has accepted that, unlike in the Netherlands, controversial speech is           of Colorado at Boulder; University of Massachusetts Amherst;
    protected in the United States,” said Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice               University of California, Berkeley; and University of Arizona—
    President. “Unfortunately, Temple’s responses only show how arbitrary           abandoned such security fees after being contacted by FIRE in separate
    Temple administrators have been, abusing their discretion and failing to        incidents last year.
    explain why the fee was levied and then ultimately waived. While we
                                                                                    In a January 21 response, Temple misrepresented its responsibilities by
    applaud Temple’s decision to abandon the unconstitutional fee, more
                                                                                    arguing that TUP could have been charged more than $6,000 for the
    work must be done to make sure that the university’s policies do not
                                                                                    additional security deemed necessary by Temple. FIRE replied on January
    unfairly burden controversial speech on campus again.”
                                                                                    26, noting that Temple’s apparent policy vested unconstitutional
    Student group Temple University Purpose (TUP) hosted the Wilders                discretion on administrators who apparently were acting arbitrarily in
    event in Temple’s Anderson Hall on October 20, 2009. Wilders came to            determining security fees that groups would have to pay for controversial
    notice in the United States largely through the controversy surrounding         events. In Temple’s second response dated February 8, Associate
    his short 2008 film Fitna, which was shown during his presentation at           University Counsel Valerie I. Harrison notified FIRE that any remaining
    Temple. Extra security was provided for the event, which proceeded              security fee demands had been “withdrawn,” but did not explain why
    without disturbance.                                                            Temple reversed course.

    Six weeks later, on December 3, TUP was surprised with a bill from              Harrison’s letter also referred FIRE to a Temple policy that does not
    Temple for $800 for “Security Officer,” apparently for the costs “to            clarify who is responsible for paying for added security. One of the
    secure the room and building.” TUP Interim President Brittany Walsh             criteria for determining security needs at Temple includes “Increased
    pointed out in an e-mail to administrators that Temple had agreed, before       risks (e.g., threats received),” a criterion that Temple may not use when
    the event, to pay for any extra security costs. She received no substantive     charging security fees to students. FIRE has asked Temple to revise this
    reply even after repeated e-mails. Frustrated with the university’s demand      policy.
    for payment and subsequent lack of explanation, Walsh and TUP turned
                                                                                    Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program,
    to FIRE.
                                                                                    said, “This kind of consideration is not content neutral, and it is exactly
    In a letter to Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart, FIRE                what was contemplated by the Supreme Court in the Forsyth decision. By
    described the university’s constitutional responsibility to pay for any extra   failing to clarify this and other ambiguous elements of its policy and by
    security it deemed necessary for the event. FIRE cited the U.S. Supreme         failing to explain its actions in the Wilders case, Temple has left all student
    Court’s decision in Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), which        organizations in the dark about whether their rights will be respected on
    struck down a local government’s increased fee for police protection for        campus. We ask Temple to reform and clarify its policies, consistent with
    controversial events because “[s]peech cannot be financially burdened,          its obligations under the First Amendment, to ensure that robust debate
    any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might             is welcomed and not burdened on Temple’s campus.”
    offend a hostile mob.” As a public university, Temple is bound by the

4           Spring 2010
   FIRE Files Supreme Court Amicus
     Brief Supporting Freedom of
     Association in Christian Legal
          Society v. Martinez
FIRE has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to defend the First Amendment right to freedom of
association by overturning the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Christian Legal Society v. Kane (since renamed), which
allowed University of California Hastings College of the Law to forbid its chapter of the Christian Legal Society to organize
around shared religious and cultural beliefs. FIRE’s brief, which was joined by the national student organization Students For
Liberty, also pointed out that the Ninth Circuit’s decision let Hastings demand that all groups accept “all comers” as voting
members, which leaves groups with minority viewpoints subject to hostile takeovers by students in the majority.

“If student organizations cannot require that their     the fact that the provision conditions membership            was likely a violation of the First Amendment. The
leaders and voting members actually share the           on changeable conduct and belief, not immutable              court made the obvious point that “[i]t would be
group’s viewpoints, as the Ninth Circuit’s ruling       status. Hastings’ restriction on freedom of                  difficult for CLS to sincerely and effectively convey
would have it, freedom of association on college        association was eventually found constitutional by           a message of disapproval of certain types of
campuses will be stripped of all meaning,” said         the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the ground             conduct if, at the same time, it must accept
Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice President. “Freedom of      that the policy was viewpoint neutral and applied            members who engage in that conduct,” and had “no
association means the right of individuals to form      equally to all student groups, even though in                difficulty concluding that SIU’s application of its
groups around shared beliefs, not the right of the      practice it prevented groups like CLS from existing          nondiscrimination policies in this way burdens CLS’
state to dictate what those groups’ beliefs should      with equal (or any) recognition on campus.                   ability to express its ideas.” Since the Ninth Circuit’s
be.”                                                                                                                 decision directly conflicts with the Seventh Circuit’s
                                                        The Ninth Circuit’s decision should deeply alarm all
                                                                                                                     opinion, the Supreme Court’s decision in Martinez
Christian Legal Society v. Martinez concerns UC         who care about the rights of those holding minority
                                                                                                                     will likely resolve this circuit split.
Hastings College of the Law’s refusal to recognize      viewpoints on America’s campuses. “If adopted,
the Christian Legal Society (CLS) as a registered       this decision would make nearly every campus                 Creeley added, “As FIRE’s brief makes clear, the
student group. Hastings based its refusal on the fact   group vulnerable to takeover and dissolution by its          Ninth Circuit’s decision would be disastrous for
that even though all students may attend and            enemies,” said Will Creeley, FIRE’s Director of              groups holding unpopular or minority viewpoints
participate in CLS meetings and activities, voting      Legal and Public Advocacy. FIRE’s brief identified           on campus. To protect the First Amendment right
members and group leaders must sign a “Statement        real-life examples of exactly this motivation among          to freedom of expressive association on our nation’s
of Faith” that expresses belief in CLS’ particular      hostile students. “Using the Ninth Circuit’s                 public campuses, the Supreme Court must reverse
religious worldview.                                    rationale, the College Republicans could take over           the Ninth Circuit’s decision. Only by doing so will
                                                        the College Democrats, pro-choice groups could               the Court ensure that all belief-based groups, no
At issue is a provision stating that “[a] person who
                                                        take over pro-life groups, and atheist students could        matter how popular, are allowed to participate fully
advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual
                                                        take over a Muslim group—and nobody could do                 in the daily life of our public institutions of higher
conduct outside of marriage between a man and a
                                                        anything about it. Far from encouraging diversity,           education.”
woman is not considered to be living consistently
                                                        this decision makes possible the establishment of a
with the Statement of Faith and, therefore, is not                                                                   Other amicus petitioners filing on behalf of the
                                                        stifling, majoritarian campus culture where
eligible for leadership or voting membership.” The                                                                   Christian Legal Society include the Cato Institute,
                                                        dissenters’ voices are rarely heard.”
statement clarifies that “[a] person’s mere                                                                          the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of
experience of same-sex or opposite-sex sexual           The Ninth Circuit’s decision is in direct opposition         America, the American Islamic Congress, the Boy
attraction does not determine his or her eligibility    to an earlier, nearly identical case from the Seventh        Scouts of America, Gays and Lesbians for
for leadership or voting membership.” Hastings          Circuit, Christian Legal Society v. Walker. In Walker, the   Individual Liberty, the U.S. Conference of Catholic
argues that this provision violates the university’s    Seventh Circuit held that Southern Illinois                  Bishops, and 12 state attorneys general, among
ban on “sexual orientation” discrimination, despite     University’s denial of recognition to a CLS chapter          many others.

              From the

     FIRE Staff Table at
     Student Conferences
     Over the past couple of months, FIRE staff tabled at key student
     conferences including the Students for Liberty International
     Conference, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and
     the Spring College Media Advisers Convention (CMA). At the
     conferences, FIRE staff passed out Spotlight reports, signed up over one
     hundred students for the CFN, and informed attendees about threats
     to freedom on campus.

     These are just three of the many conferences FIRE attends to spread
     our non-partisan message of protecting free speech on the college
     campus. (We'll be back in D.C. for the annual Campus Progress
     conference this summer, as well.) Meeting face to face with the many
     students eager to learn more about our efforts and take action in their
     college communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work.

    FIRE Invites Essay Contest Entrants to Join CFN
    After receiving 2,700 entries for FIRE’s “Freedom in Academia” essay           school students to join the CFN. Each received FIRE’s signature t-shirt with
    contest for college-bound high school seniors, we extended a special           a quote from FIRE’s co-founder Alan Charles Kors: “A nation that does not
    invitation to those students to join the Campus Freedom Network.               educate in liberty will not long preserve it and will not even know when it is
    Normally, the CFN is open exclusively to college and university students and   lost.”
    faculty members. But because the students applying for our essay contest
    demonstrated such erudition and dedication to liberty, we wanted to offer      We welcome these enterprising and dedicated students into the CFN and
    them the opportunity to join the award-winning CFN.                            we’re excited to see what they’ll do to protect liberty when they get to
                                                                                   college in the fall!
    Over 300 students took up FIRE’s offer and became the first cadre of high


                                                          for comprehensive information on the state of liberty on America’s
                                                          campuses, including pages for individual academic institutions, relevant
                                                          links to our research of speech codes, and case materials from FIRE’s
                                                          Individual Rights Defense Program.

6            Spring 2010
       FIRE Awards ‘Freedom in Academia’ Essay Winner
FIRE announced the 2009 "Freedom in Academia" essay contest last                 perhaps untactful way. Nor is the Delaware case merely one of a university
August and sent invitations for entries to nearly 11,000 high schools            helping its students discuss controversial social issues. These are issues of
across the country. Students were asked to watch two documentaries on            civil rights and of the authority of the Constitution-an authority that is being
FIRE cases, FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University and Think What             increasingly ignored.
We Think... Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus, and to
                                                                                 One might object that the principle of free speech has great potential for
write essays of 700-1,200 words explaining how the universities in the           abuse. Colleges have to intervene, one might say, to prevent young people
videos abrogated the constitutional rights of their students and betrayed        from saying outrageous things. Even if they go too far in regulating student
the true purpose of a university. Nathaniel Cornelius, a homeschooled            speech, the courts will bring them back into line and no damage will have
student in Paynesville, Minnesota, penned the winning essay and was              been done. However, the real potential for abuse actually lies on the other
awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. Here is his essay.                         side, as schools like Valdosta State intimidate students into giving up their
                                                                                 freedom without a murmur. If Hayden Barnes had not fought back in court,
Educational Institutions or Re-education Camps?                                  he would have had to either acquiesce to the university's position or give up
By Nathaniel Cornelius, Homeschool student, Paynesville, Minnesota               his pursuit of his degree. Other students would then infer from his example
                                                                                 that disagreeing with the administration is not an option for them if they
If, as a hoax, someone had replaced the facts of Hayden Barnes' story with       valued their academic careers.
a tale of repression from 18th- or 19th- century France, it might not have
raised many eyebrows. Barnes was expelled from Valdosta State University         At the University of Delaware, coercion operated on an emotional basis. The
after making a collage satirizing university President Ronald Zaccari's          orientation program humiliated students in front of their peers for not
support for a $10,000-a-space parking garage. His story would have fit           conforming to its ideology, and instances of political incorrectness were
perfectly well in a regime where, for example, the artist Honore Daumier         treated as emergencies. This alone would browbeat the average student into
was jailed for an unflattering caricature of King Louis Philippe. Similarly,     silence. Furthermore, the university attempted to keep the program secret so
the University of Delaware's bizarre orientation program could have just as      that no one could step in and help those being intimidated. Thus, without
easily been the invention of a mad interrogator from Stalinist Russia, where     anything official happening, this emotional pressure would have, in practice,
those who did not applaud long enough at the dictator's favorite concerts        abridged students' rights of conscience and free expression.
risked execution. Stalin himself would have appreciated how Delaware's
orientation program forced students to display support for every official        The most serious aspect of these situations is the fact that the leaders of
ideological tenet or political opinion.                                          these schools seemed to claim exclusive knowledge of what is right for
                                                                                 students and for Americans in general. At Valdosta State, President Zaccari
However, these disturbing events did not unfold in the courts of the French      refused to see any point of view but his as correct, considering Barnes'
Empire or in the gulags of the Soviet Union. They happened in the United         disagreement a personal insult. Regardless of what was the best way to
States, a country whose name has always been synonymous with freedom             provide more parking, Zaccari's administration should have at least had the
and has freedom of speech enshrined in its Constitution. What, then, has         grace to listen sincerely to Barnes' input. The attitude of the leadership at the
gone so terribly wrong that these violations of conscience would occur?          University of Delaware was much the same, only on a larger scale. As the
These two schools directly disobeyed the Constitution with hardly a second       FIRE video points out, the school officials believed that they alone saw
thought-an ominous indicator of the low respect given to the supreme law         society accurately.
of the land. Worse yet, they tried to use coercion, shame, and fear to prevent
students from exercising their rights to their own beliefs--rights that are      These actions reveal blatant instances of circular reasoning, as the
nominally protected and intrinsically obvious. Underlying all this is the        universities' philosophical conclusions predetermined the framework in
university's apparent goal of forcing its point of view on all members of its    which students could acceptably think. Colleges should be gardens of free
community. These actions reveal that the schools in question have indeed         inquiry and unbridled intellectual growth, not machines that stifle free
betrayed their own raison d'etre.                                                expression and stunt students' development as persons. When a university
                                                                                 uses freshman orientation to squeeze students into an ideological mold based
Simply put, Valdosta State University and the University of Delaware             on its particular set of presuppositions, or when it expels those who dare to
violated their students' rights by going contrary to the Constitution. The       question its strategic decisions, it is functioning more like a re-education
First Amendment clearly states that "Congress shall make no law...abridging      camp than an educational institution.
the freedom of speech," and this also applies to government-run or public
institutions such as universities. Therefore, such schools cannot at their own   It would be a cause for rejoicing if the University of Delaware and Valdosta
discretion restrict expression on their campuses, even if that expression        State's President Zaccari were alone in their radical behavior. Sadly, scores of
turns out to be dissenting, critical, or embarrassing. Both universities         cases like these occur every year. That is why the future of intellectual and
claimed an exception to this rule for speech posing a "clear and present         social progress in America lies largely with the defenders of free speech.
danger," but expressing one's concerns about a parking garage does not           Without them, America will go the way of the ancient regimes or the Soviet
come close to fitting that description.                                          Union: downward into repression, bloodshed, and chaos. With vigorous
                                                                                 advocates fighting for freedom of expression in America's colleges and
As one of FIRE's videos points out, the University of Delaware went even         universities, there is hope that higher education will nourish students' minds
further, attempting to control its students' moral values and conscientiously    and spur them on to intellectual discoveries greater than those school
held beliefs. This violates an enormously self-evident right. Similarly, while   officials have already attained. There is hope that young people will choose
Valdosta State was already abridging students' freedom of speech with its        their philosophical, religious, and political views because they genuinely
absurdly small free speech zone, it denied outright Hayden Barnes' right of      believe in them, not because they fear punishment for thinking otherwise.
free expression by expelling him from school. This is more than an issue of      Most of all, there is hope that America will continue to endure as a nation
a student who criticized the school administration in a humorous but             with liberty and justice for all.

    University of Chicago Repeatedly Censors
             Student Facebook Posts
    Joke about 'Israel Lobby' Author's Assassination Leads to Police Investigation

    For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has censored a student's
    post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph "Tex" Dozier posted a joke
    that he had had a dream about assassinating University of Chicago professor John
    Mearsheimer "for a secret Israeli organization." Mearsheimer is co-author of the
    controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This post prompted an
    investigator from the university's police department to question Dozier about his
    political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier's comments on his
    university radio show, and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have the post
    reported to Mearsheimer, one of his professors. Dozier came to FIRE for help.

                                                                                                                                      Joseph “Tex” Dozier
    "Any reasonable person would recognize that               Martinez even told Dozier that he had "researched"       This is the second time the University of Chicago
    Dozier's post was unquestionably a joke," said FIRE       Dozier and his weekly radio show The Boiling Point,      has censored a student's Facebook post in violation
    Vice President Robert Shibley. "If Dozier worked          which is broadcast on the university-hosted station      of the university's promises to its students. In 2009,
    for a secret Israeli organization, would he have          WHPK. When Martinez said that he was required            undergraduate Andrew Thompson posted a
    announced it via Facebook? And if the University          to contact Mearsheimer to inform him of Dozier's         photograph album on his personal Facebook page
    of Chicago truly believed that Dozier presented a         comment, Dozier replied that Mearsheimer had             under the title, "[Name of ex-girlfriend] cheated on
    threat to a professor's life, how would merely            been one of his professors and that he feared            me, and you're next!" The photos were of various
    censoring the student have solved the problem? The        negative repercussions if his innocent comment           persons and were unremarkable, though some of
    U of C is making a joke of itself by policing and         was reported to Mearsheimer. Martinez responded          Thompson's Facebook "friends" posted negative
    censoring student comments on Facebook."                  that if Dozier deleted the comment within 30             statements about the ex-girlfriend.
                                                              minutes, Martinez would include the removal in his
    On December 6, 2009, Dozier wrote on his                                                                           The next day, after the ex-girlfriend complained,
                                                              official report and not contact Mearsheimer. Dozier
    personal Facebook page, "Dreamt that I                                                                             Susan Art, Dean of Students in the College,
                                                              negotiated a two-hour window and then deleted his
    assassinated [University of Chicago professor] John                                                                demanded that Thompson "remove her name and
    Mearsheimer for a secret Israeli organization - there                                                              remove the pictures you have posted of her"
    was a hidden closet w/ Nazi paraphanelia [sic].           Neither the University of Chicago nor the UCPD           because of an alleged Student Manual prohibition
    Haha! :-)" Mearsheimer is popularly known for his         has challenged FIRE's or Dozier's account of this        against "disrespectful" speech.
    2007 book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with   conversation.
                                                                                                                       FIRE wrote President Zimmer on February 23,
    co-author Stephen Walt. According to the authors,
                                                              FIRE wrote University of Chicago President               2009, but the university eventually replied that since
    the book "focuses primarily on the lobby's influence
                                                              Robert J. Zimmer on March 2 about the violation of       FIRE was not threatening litigation, the University
    on U.S. foreign policy and its negative effect on
                                                              Dozier's expression rights. While the University of      of Chicago did not want to engage in any further
    American interests."
                                                              Chicago is a private institution not bound by the        discussion regarding the issue.
    University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD)            First Amendment, it explicitly promises students
                                                                                                                       "The University of Chicago had a chance to reverse
    officer Abraham Martinez phoned Dozier on                 freedom of speech in its Student Manual, which
                                                                                                                       course last year and start respecting students' free
    December 7. According to Dozier, Martinez called          also states that "The ideas of different members of
                                                                                                                       speech rights, but it has continued to monitor
    the post a "death threat" and asked if Dozier             the University community will frequently conflict
                                                                                                                       students' off-campus Internet speech and censor
    disagreed with Mearsheimer politically. Martinez          and we do not attempt to shield people from ideas
                                                                                                                       innocuous comments," said Adam Kissel, Director
    also asked if he had made "controversial                  that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even
                                                                                                                       of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program.
    comments" about Mearsheimer in the past that the          offensive. Nor, as a general rule, does the University
                                                                                                                       "The university has failed to fulfill its own promises
    UCPD should be aware of.                                  intervene to enforce social standards of civility."
                                                                                                                       once again."
                                                              The university has not responded.

8               Spring 2010
Ford Hall Forum Honors FIRE with 2010
First Amendment Award
On March 18, FIRE was awarded the Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and
Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award, an honor bestowed upon
“individuals or organizations that demonstrate extraordinary
commitment to promoting and facilitating the thoughtful exercise of
our right to freedom of expression.” Greg Lukianoff, President of
FIRE; Harvey Silverglate, civil liberties lawyer and FIRE Co-founder;
and Steven Pinker, bestselling author and FIRE Board of Advisors
member, joined moderator Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District
Court of Massachusetts to discuss FIRE’s work and what freedom of
speech means today. Previous First Amendment Award recipients
include journalist Gwen Ifill, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and
CNN founder Ted Turner.

Johns Hopkins Student Government Association
Asks President to Defend Free Speech
A promising new development recently took place at Red Alert school         and has a chilling effect upon all forms of speech.” Perkins also
Johns Hopkins University: Marc Perkins, President of the Student            describes the effects of the bill, which would essentially require secular
Government Association, wrote to Johns Hopkins President Ronald             private institutions to uphold the First Amendment rights of students,
Daniels in February on behalf of the Undergraduate Student                  just as public institutions are bound by law to do. Referring to the
Government Association to ask that he uphold free speech rights at          Undergraduate Conduct Code that promises to “protect the university
Johns Hopkins.                                                              as a forum for the free expression of ideas,” Perkins asks that Daniels
                                                                            support the bill so that the university will be held legally accountable for
His letter begins by asking that President Daniels support Maryland
                                                                            keeping its promise.
H.B. 677/S.B. 805, the Free Speech at Nonpublic Institutions of
Higher Education Bill. If enacted, the bill would function much like the    While FIRE takes no position on legislation—even on bills affecting
Leonard Law in California, requiring private institutions to afford their   students’ free speech rights—we are heartened that the student
students free speech rights as long as the school does not have an          government at Johns Hopkins is taking seriously the threats to the free
overriding religious purpose.                                               speech rights that are promised to students by Hopkins’ own policies.
                                                                            Whatever President Daniels’ decision on Maryland H.B. 677/S.B. 805,
Perkins cites Hopkins’ deplorable civility code that, in his words,
                                                                            we hope that he rescinds Hopkins’ oppressive civility code, as we asked
“allows the university to punish students for merely expressing views
                                                                            earlier this year, so that we are able at long last to remove Hopkins from
that are controversial.” He then states that such infringement of
                                                                            our Red Alert list.
students’ rights “hurts the cause of academic freedom at our university

                                                            Want more FIRE news and views? Check out The Torch, FIRE’s blog,
                                                            for daily updates at www.thefire.org/torch.

     From the Director of IREP:
     In Courtrooms and Conference
     Halls, FIRE’s Fight for Campus
     Rights Wins New Victories

     By Will Creeley
                                                                                                                                    Will Creeley

     All of us at FIRE work diligently to ensure that our nation’s students and faculty learn and teach in an environment where the rights to free expression,
     conscience, assembly, religion, and due process are honored. A quick glimpse at our case archives (available online at www.thefire.org/cases)
     demonstrates that FIRE has scored impressive wins in our first decade of existence. But despite these many victories, the shocking abuses of liberty on
     campus keep rolling into my inbox every semester with depressing regularity.
     All of us at FIRE work diligently to ensure that our nation’s students and faculty       speech, but now we’ve secured our latest Speech Code Litigation Project win.
     learn and teach in an environment where the rights to free expression,                   More will follow.
     conscience, assembly, religion, and due process are honored. A quick glimpse at
     our case archives (available online at www.thefire.org/cases) demonstrates that          FIRE attorneys have also been busy filing amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs
     FIRE has scored impressive wins in our first decade of existence. But despite            in several crucial court cases affecting student rights across the country during
     these many victories, the shocking abuses of liberty on campus keep rolling into         these past few months. Amicus briefs are filed by interested outside individuals
     my inbox every semester with depressing regularity.                                      or organizations that, while not party to the legal proceedings as plaintiff or
                                                                                              defendant, nevertheless are concerned about the issues before the court and
     That’s why, as FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate often says,               have particular expertise that may assist the court in reaching a decision. In the
     winning individual battles for free speech and due process isn’t enough: FIRE            last four months, FIRE has filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court of the
     must work towards changing the culture on campus. Students, faculty, and                 United States (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez), the United States Court of
     administrators must recognize that the answer to disagreeable speech is always           Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Lopez v. Candaele), the United States Court of
     more speech and never censorship; that every student and professor must be               Appeals for the Third Circuit (McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands), and the
     free to determine the contours and content of their worldview independently of           Nebraska Supreme Court (State v. Drahota). In each case, FIRE weighed in on
     official mandate; that every student group must be allowed to articulate its             behalf of a robust reading of the First Amendment and against censorship, and
     message for itself; that students of every faith must enjoy equal participation in       we’re confident that the expertise we’ve gained from a decade of fighting for
     the life of their institution; and that every student accused of wrongdoing must         free speech on campus will help each court reach the right decision.
     be presumed innocent and afforded the rights to which he or she is lawfully
     entitled.                                                                                When I haven’t been working with my fellow lawyers on staff on daily casework
                                                                                              and amicus briefs in the past few months, I’ve been pleased to be able to address
     While achieving this vast change in campus culture is certainly a tall order, FIRE       two large conferences to spread FIRE’s message to non-legal audiences. First, in
     has the right message, the right staff, and dedicated supporters—and, crucially,         early February, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed
     we’ve got the law on our side. As Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, my              and I attended the annual Association for Student Conduct Administration
     job is to make sure it stays that way. But as my title indicates, I’m also responsible   conference, where we addressed a packed room of university administrators.
     for making sure FIRE’s message is heard clearly by many audiences, not just my           Azhar and I lectured and fielded questions about the common mistakes we see
     fellow attorneys. In order to turn the tide in the battle for core liberties on          restricting speech in student conduct policies. Our talk is already paying
     campus, FIRE must win in the court of public opinion as well as in the                   dividends, as we’ve been contacted in the last few weeks by several
     courtroom. Happily, thanks to your continued support, I’m pleased to report              administrators seeking further guidance from FIRE about how best to reform
     that we’ve made excellent progress on both fronts in recent months.                      policies at their schools. And in early March, I delivered a lecture on the freedom
                                                                                              of the student press to students and faculty at the Campus Media Advisors
     First, the legal news, beginning with a big win for student speech rights in the         conference in New York City. It’s always a pleasure to tell student journalists and
     case of Smith v. Tarrant County College District, in which a federal district court      editors who to turn to if their college paper falls victim to campus censorship.
     ruled recently that restrictions on student speech maintained by Tarrant County
     College (TCC) violated the First Amendment rights of students wishing to                 While FIRE’s work is seemingly never done, I truly believe we’re getting closer
     engage in symbolic protest on campus. The ruling is covered in greater detail on         to changing the culture on campus for good. Each court victory, each amicus
     page three, so I won’t delve too far into the details here, but I do want to say that    brief filed, each conference attended means FIRE’s message resonates further.
     I’m particularly proud of this victory because it’s a testament to FIRE’s                With more hard work and your help, we’ll secure core freedoms for all students
     perseverance. It took us two years to knock down TCC’s restrictions on student           and faculty sooner rather than later.

10                Spring 2010
About the
Publication                                                                                    Money talks. Get your school to listen.

The FIRE Quarterly is published four
times per year by the Foundation for        In February, FIRE kicked off its newest campaign—          Through the Give Half for Liberty campaign, you
Individual Rights in Education.             Givehalfforliberty.org—which strives to help colleges      can donate half of what you usually would donate
The mission of FIRE is to defend and        reform their policies so students and professors can       to a college or university to FIRE instead, so that
sustain individual rights at America’s      enjoy freedom of expression while also helping FIRE        we can help restore that school to the true
increasingly repressive and partisan        raise the funds necessary to continue our vital mission.   “marketplace of ideas” it was meant to be.
colleges and universities. These rights
                                            While FIRE has a great success rate of                     Participate in our campaign at the $50 level and
include freedom of speech, legal
equality, due process, religious liberty,   encouraging schools to reform overbroad, vague,            FIRE will send the school of your choice our new
and sanctity of conscience—the              and easily abused policies, we need your help in           guide for administrators, Correcting Common Mistakes
essential qualities of individual liberty   getting more college administrators to really listen       in Campus Speech Policies, along with a letter alerting
and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to      to our message. The truth is that if there is              administrators to the fact that they have lost half of
protect the unprotected and to educate      anything that motivates college administrators, it’s       your financial support and offering our help in
the public and communities of               money, so colleges are likely to listen to YOU—            reforming their speech codes so they can regain
concerned Americans about the threats       their donors—especially if it means a more                 that support. Money talks, and FIRE is confident
to these rights on our campuses and         impressive bottom line. Help us send a clear               that with your help we can get school
about the means to preserve them.           message to America’s colleges and universities that        administrators to listen.
FIRE is a charitable and educational        fundamental abuses of liberty will not be tolerated
                                                                                                       Act now by pledging your support to the program
tax-exempt foundation within the            and that until administrators start listening, their
                                                                                                       using the supplied postcard or send in your
meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the         schools will not earn your full support.
Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to                                                                donation in the provided envelope. Your
FIRE are deductible to the fullest extent   How it works:                                              contribution to this campaign just might be the
provided by tax laws.                                                                                  final push administrators at your school need to
                                            You care a lot about your alma mater, the school           restore freedom to campus. It’s time we put a price
                                            your child attends, or the school with your favorite       on neglecting our liberties.
                                            college sports team, and as a donor you want to see
HOW TO REACH US:                            that school flourish. You also are aware of the sad        Not a donor to your alma mater? If you still want to
                                            state of liberty on college campuses today and             support our work and send a message to your school,
                                            don’t want to see your school fall prey to the PC          you can. With a donation of $50 or more, we are happy
                                            mafia, or worse yet, Orwellian repression.                 to send a copy of our Common Mistakes guide. Just
                                                                                                       include a comment with your donation letting us know
                                                                                                       you would like us to send one.

601 Walnut Street • Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106
                                            Follow FIRE on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!
215.717.3473 tel                            FIRE has always been at the forefront of social networking and internet
215.717.3440 fax                            technology, so it’s no surprise that one of the most popular ways to get FIRE
www.thefire.org                             news and updates is now through our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts.
                                            To “follow” FIRE, go to http://twitter.com/TheFIREorg,
                                            http://www.facebook.com/thefireorg, and

                                                                                                         NON PROFIT
                                                                                                        U.S. POSTAGE
                                                                                                           PHILA PA
                                                                                                         PERMIT 5634

                   601 Walnut Street • Suite 510
                   Philadelphia, PA 19106

                           FIRE thanks all of its supporters for their dedication to FIRE and its mission.
                                                                • • •
                  If you would like to donate to FIRE, please visit www.thefire.org/support or call 215.717.3473.

                    The Last Word:

                   FIRE Hires Sweidy Stata Video Fellow
                  Thanks to donors Raymie Stata and Kimberly Sweidy,
                  FIRE has hired the first annual Sweidy Stata Video
                  The Video Fellow will be charged with the duty to create several different, high-
                  quality, documentary-style films about FIRE's cases and mission and will play a key
                  role in FIRE's outreach and publicity efforts. The first scheduled documentary is
                  a a five- to ten-minute film that will explore the issues surrounding gun speech on
                  campus while also putting a face on the individuals who have been directly affected
                  by censorship.

                  FIRE is excited to add this important position to its arsenal against abuses of
                  liberties on campus.

        12               Spring 2010

To top