On January 8th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a high school student who was suspended from her cheerleading team for a Snapchat selfie she made after school hours. The lower courts are currently split as to whether a school can discipline off-campus speech that is substantially disruptive and closesly linked to school.
The report details 35 incidents of universities punishing students or faculty for speech online, and 10 universities with policies in place that FIRE says give administrators “immense power to punish large swaths of speech.” According to the advocacy group, many public universities are acting like the First Amendment applies differently to online speech.
The Ohio State Senate passed a new bill on campus speech on January 28th that will prohibit free speech zones, and ban the imposition of security fees based on the controversial nature of the speaker’s expression.
Columbia University president and First Amendment scholar Lee Bollinger writes about the state of free speech on college campuses. Despite […]
Recently CUNY Law students shouted down Professor Josh Blackman causing debate among First Amendment scholars. In our Spotlight on campus speech, "Lessons from Berkeley on Campus Free Speech" we discuss how U.S. campuses have been hotbeds of political and social debate since the colonial era. By the 1960s, rising civil unrest buoyed the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley. As protests spread, universities and law enforcement cracked down leading to fatalities in separate incidents at Kent State University and Jackson State University. Today campus protests are once again eliciting an escalated police presence. Both public and private universities are struggling how to balance the free exchange of ideas, but public universities have a legal obligation to protect campus freedom of expression. What does this mean for students, campus free speech and speaker’s right to free speech when it is suppressed by the fear of disruption?
On May 5th, the Knight Foundation and Gallup released the 2020 First Amendment on Campus report, an online survey of more than 3,000 full-time undergraduate students, and a large cohort of students from historically black colleges and universities. The First Amendment survey began in the spring of 2016, and the respondents for the 2020 report were queried in the fall of 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Amendment Watch and FIRE are proud to launch a freshman orientation program aimed at teaching incoming college students about their free speech rights on campus. We've developed a series of modules for universities to utilize during freshman orientation, first-year seminars, and other campus programming to teach new college students about their rights and about common free speech issues they may encounter during their time in school