Press Release

FIRE Announces Publication of New Guide to ‘Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies’ for University Administrators

November 12, 2009

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is proud to announce the publication of Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies, a practical guide for university administrators seeking to protect freedom of expression on their campus. This new publication is available online and as a PDF for free download, and published copies will be sent to administrators nationwide.

Read Full Article

The Torch

Duke Professor Finishes Yale's Job, Prints Mohammed Images in New Book; FIRE Co-signs Statement of Principle

November 9, 2009

Duke University Professor Gary Hull has just published Muhammad: The "Banned" Images, which dares to publish images that Yale University and Yale University Press censored from Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons that Shook the World earlier this year. Hull calls the book "a statement of defiance against censors, terror-mongers, and their Western appeasers." FIRE joined with the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and nine other signatories on a Statement of Principle stating that "The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it." Read Full Article

The Torch

Victory for First Amendment on Campus: Federal Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against Free Speech Zone, Permitting 'Empty Holster' Protest

November 6, 2009

In a victory for First Amendment rights on campus, a federal district court in Texas has granted two students at Tarrant County College (TCC) a temporary restraining order prohibiting TCC from censoring an "empty holster" protest scheduled for next week. The court's decision to grant the order came two days after the students filed a motion arguing that by enforcing its "free speech zone" policy to quarantine the protest, TCC would violate the students' First Amendment rights. In issuing the order, the federal court held that the students would suffer "immediate and irreparable injury" if TCC were allowed to restrict the protest event, due to the free speech zone policy's use of a permit system that contains no guidelines or standards for decision-making as well as the lack of access provided to traditional public forums such as sidewalks, streets, and park areas. As a result of this victory, students at Tarrant County College will be able to proceed with next week's protest. A hearing on the students' full lawsuit has been scheduled for November 16. Read Full Article

The Torch

Southwestern College Professors No Longer Banned, But 'Free Speech Patio' Still Violates Constitutional Rights

November 6, 2009

FIRE has confirmed that the three Southwestern College (SWC) professors who were banned from campus on October 22 have been allowed back on campus. The professors had been banned and put on administrative leave because they joined with students who took their protest outside of SWC's unconstitutional free speech areaa mere patioto a more visible and audible location. The professors were reinstated just two days after FIRE intervened in the case. Nevertheless, this case is not over so long as the "free speech patio" remains in place and SWC violates the First Amendment in both policy and practice. Read Full Article

Press Release

Students File Lawsuit Challenging ‘Free Speech Zone’ After Repeated Censorship of Pro-Gun ‘Empty Holster’ Protest

November 5, 2009

Tarrant County College (TCC) students Clayton Smith and John Schwertz filed suit in federal district court late Tuesday against TCC. The students are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent TCC from quarantining protected speech to the school's tiny "free speech zone" when they participate in a national "empty holster" protest coordinated by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) that is scheduled for November 9-13. TCC has prohibited students from participating in identical symbolic protests twice in the past two years. The suit was filed by Fort Worth attorney Karin Cagle in cooperation with FIRE and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas. Read Full Article

Press Release

College Abandons Mysterious ‘Sexual Harassment’ Charge for Lack of Evidence; New Reprimand Issued Against Professor for Unspecified ‘Offensive’ Speech Without Any Notice, Evidence, or Hearing

November 3, 2009

Under pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), East Georgia College (EGC) has withdrawn an unfounded charge of "sexual harassment" against a professor who criticized the school's sexual harassment policy. EGC President John B. Black dismissed Professor Thomas Thibeault from campus and had him escorted from campus by police in August. Thibeault was treated as a dangerous criminal without a hearing or even knowing his accuser or the charges or evidence against him. Thibeault was finally notified on October 20 that he had been reinstated due to lack of evidence, but Black has now violated Thibeault's free speech and due process rights again by issuing Thibeault a "reprimand" for unspecified "offensive" speechagain without presenting any notice, hearing, evidence, or witnesses. Read Full Article