FIRE Legal Scholarship on Speech Codes Published

FIRE is pleased to announce the publication of Defying the Constitution: The Rise, Persistence, and Prevalence of Campus Speech Codes in the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy. Authored by FIRE’s Azhar Majeed, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, the article chronicles the existence of college and university speech codes nationwide and argues that maintaining them is untenable, given that every single court decision on speech codes has struck them down as unconstitutional. The article analyzes the First Amendment and free speech problems presented by speech codes, examines the harms that they perpetuate on the college campus, and responds to arguments put forth by their proponents. It also offers potential ways to eradicate speech codes permanently from college campuses. FIRE expects the article to be an informative contribution to First Amendment scholarship, clarifying the state of the law on speech codes.
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Duke Professor Finishes Yale’s Job, Prints Mohammed Images in New Book; FIRE Co-signs Statement of Principle
Earlier this month Duke University Professor Gary Hull published Muhammad: The "Banned" Images, which dares to include 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 about a dozen other signatories on a Statement of Principle declaring that "The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it."
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FIRE Announces Publication of Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies for University Administrators
FIRE announces 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. Authored by Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research, and William Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies is a comprehensive yet accessible manual for identifying and remedying the most prevalent problems in policies governing student and faculty speech. This new publication is available online and as a PDF for free download, while published copies will be sent to administrators nationwide.
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Watch the Video of Greg’s UNC Speech
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has had a packed schedule of speeches this fall, having spoken at multiple campuses in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C. A video of his "Unlearning Liberty" speech given at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is available on YouTube. The speech, given during UNC’s First Amendment Day, highlights some of FIRE’s most shocking cases and explores what is at stake if students are not made aware of their rights.
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FIRE Launches New Video Fellow Campaign
A generous donor has offered to give FIRE $25,000 if we can raise $25,000 more from our friends and supporters. This matching grant will enable FIRE to launch a valuable new program: the FIRE Video Fellowship. During this one-year fellowship, FIRE will host a filmmaker who will capture our unbelievable cases on video and package them into short films to be available online and on DVD. As you know, FIRE handles cases that are often so outrageous words alone cannot do them justice; they must be seen to be believed. With video, these cases can be seen and are guaranteed to grab the attention of the public. Please help FIRE expose the truth about America’s campuses by donating to FIRE’s Video Fellow Matching Gift Fund today.

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November 21, "Templeton Freedom Award in Pictures," by Luke Sheahan

November 20, "Rights in the News: New Publications Bolster FIRE’s Efforts," by Peter Bonilla

November 20, "Southwestern College President Defends Unconstitutional ‘Free Speech Patio’ and Contradicts Himself," by Adam Kissel

November 20, "Withholding of Report on Harvard Disciplinary Body Shows Hypocrisy," by Kyle Smeallie

November 20, "FIRE Files Amicus Brief in Important ‘Breach of the Peace’ Case," by Erica Goldberg
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Recent Media Coverage

"Furor Over Anti-Gay Blog," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 13, 2009

"Purdue professor’s blog post sparks debate," by Dan McFeely,, November 12, 2009

"Maryland Regents Pass on Porn Policy," by Staff Editorial,, November 11, 2009

"Duke beats Yale: Censored images of Muhammad finally printed in new book," by Greg Lukianoff, The Huffington Post, November 9, 2009

"Students win right to protest with empty holsters," by Staff Editorial, Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2009

More media coverage at »

Recent Multimedia Content

Video, Celebrating Ten Years of FIRE

Video, Radical Speech: Dave Barry Talks About Politically Correct Campuses

Podcast, Episode 205: Greg Lukianoff at FreedomFest 2009: "Unlearning Liberty"
More multimedia at »


The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.
Speech Code of the Month

FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2009: Keene State College in New Hampshire. Keene State’s "Statement on Sexist Language" states that the college "will not tolerate language that is sexist and promotes negative stereotypes and demeans members of our community." Yet there are many serious and legitimate expressions of opinion that some would say are sexist and promote negative stereotypes; for instance, recall former Harvard University President Larry Summers’ speech suggesting that differences in aptitude might be a factor in women’s underrepresentation at the highest levels of math and science. The expression of different and controversial views is an essential element of a university education. Keene State’s policy, which chills debate by threatening to punish any expression that might be deemed "sexist," is not only unconstitutional but also runs contrary to what a university should be.

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