A new survey released by the Freedom Forum entitled, “The First Amendment: Where America Stands,” reveals that while 94% of Americans value the First Amendment as vital, they are nonetheless divided on certain key issues. Many Americans appear reluctant to engage in speech that may be seen as controversial. According to the survey of 3,000 Americans in July and August 2020, more than four in 10 people say that, at least once, they haven’t expressed an opinion out of fear of being punished.
Although many countries across the globe have laws prohibiting hate speech, the United States protects offensive speech about certain groups that historically have been subject to discrimination. This guide explores the First Amendment issues that arise from attempting to regulate hate speech. The guide also goes into existing limitations on expression, including incitement to imminent lawless action, fighting words, true threats, and harassment.
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
A lawsuit filed in January against Iowa State University (ISU) has been dropped after the university agreed to amend some of its policies in an out-of-court settlement signed on March 10th.
Neither Mucaj nor Karal directed the epithet toward anybody in particular, but uttered it out loud as part of a juvenile game that tested the other’s willingness to shout obscenities. Now, they say the university is using a vague policy to punish them for speech that, while offensive, is constitutionally protected.
“Through the use of three policies –a ban on chalking, a prohibition on student emails related to campaigns and elections, and a Campus Climate Reporting System–Iowa State University has created an elaborate investigative and enforcement regime designed to chill speech concerning political and social issues of public concern,” Speech First said in a statement on its site.
While the boys’ language was undoubtedly offensive, civil liberties groups say the statute used to arrest them is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.
First Amendment Watch, ConSource, and the John Brademas Center at New York University will co-host a panel discussion entitled, “Hate Speech on Social Media: Is There a Way to a More Civil Discussion?”