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 teacher guide explores the First Amendment issues that arise with attempting to regulate offensive speech drawing on past and contemporary court cases.
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?”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a lower court’s ruling that had dismissed a lawsuit brought […]