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Would filtering the Internet at public colleges and universities violate the First Amendment?
 
Don't certain kinds of harsh or insensitive speech tend to silence others' free expression, thereby working against the free exchange of ideas?
 
Can't a public college stadium prohibit fan profanity because there are kids in the stands?
 
May I hand out election-campaign literature on public land?
 
Why shouldn't public colleges be allowed some say in the type of research done by their professors or the funding sources if a line of inquiry might negatively affect the school?
 
What is academic freedom?
 
Is academic freedom limited to professors?
 
 

No. The Supreme Court recognized in its 1957 decision Sweezy v. New Hampshire that a university, as an institution of higher learning, has the freedom “to determine for itself on academic grounds” four basic questions: “who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.”

None of these institutional freedoms, however, should be interpreted as limiting the individual freedoms of students or faculty. Public colleges and universities are still prohibited from taking action against professors and students based on their thoughts, opinions or pursuits, which may be unorthodox, so long as their work and expression doesn’t directly damage the university’s academic purpose. Courts have consistently overruled the efforts of public colleges to establish speech codes or otherwise burden free speech and expression on their campuses.

Some educational administrators have sought to protect students from various forms of sexual and racial harassment by invoking “academic freedom.” Their argument is that no student can be truly free in his or her scholarly efforts where there is the shadow of racism, sexism or heterosexism.

A number of schools have implemented plans to prevent such attitudes from affecting students, but the result has been an uneasy tension between the rights of students to have a learning environment free of hostility and the ability of professors to engage their classes freely without having their own expression chilled by fears of mistaken intentions. This is a contentious issue and one that seems unlikely to find a simple or quick solution.

 
 
As long as they don't discriminate against certain speakers or messages, what's wrong with campus free-speech zones?
 
What about independent student newspapers or fliers? Can schools control their distribution?
 
Are college journalists entitled to all the same liberties as professional journalists?
 
How independent are public college/university-operated electronic media?
 
What if other students try to prevent distribution of student publications that they find offensive?
 
Are public colleges permitted to put any restrictions on the student groups that they will recognize? What if activities advocated by a group are illegal?
 
Can a college student invoke his or her religious beliefs to avoid engaging in an objectionable type of artistic expression?
 
A college professor makes references to materials of a sexual nature during his lecture. Could he be disciplined for such comments or is this protected speech?
 
Can people who oppose a speaker's message use their 'freedom of speech' to drown out the offending words?
 
What exactly is 'directory information'?
 
Why would the news media want or need personal information about individual students or incidents?
 
May a student sue a private university for damages under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)?
 
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Last system update: Saturday, April 24, 2010 | 15:10:19
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