Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Fight for Free Speech Against Orwellian Tactics on College Campuses

 

Intimidation still reigns at many college campuses against students who “frighten others” through their speech. This “problem” is just another way of saying that conservative students are being threatened with punishment if they make statements that the students on the Left see as offensive. I’m all for fighting against the efforts to squelch free speech. But I wonder if some of these efforts are always helpful.

A fairly new organization, Speech First, is championing students’ rights to free speech. Speech First, in part, explains their goals:

Students’ speech rights on campus are threatened on a regular basis. But the prospect of standing up to a school can be overwhelming – it can be expensive and time-consuming (not to mention awkward, since the student probably still wants a diploma at the end of the day). That’s why most students don’t take action. But what if students who wanted to stand up for free speech on campus were supported by like-minded students from all over the country? And what if those students were part of an organization that had the resources to fight back? Suddenly, it’s not so daunting after all.

To support this goal, Speech First is suing universities who have policies that they believe are intended to “chill” free speech. At the University of Michigan, Speech First sued the university for establishing a Bias Response Team, which would respond to complaints of harassment. Their challenge was not whether the complaints were factual or fair, but that the policy in itself was unfair and unconstitutional. In this referenced article, the claim was made that the policy was “innocuous” and the Bias Response Team was “toothless.” The question was raised, therefore, whether the mere threat of the policy was unconstitutional. Nevertheless, Speech First was successful in the university’s agreeing to abandon parts of its policy.

Speech First is now suing Iowa State University:

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 student members at Iowa State University are significantly burdened from participating in the political process because of the bans on chalking and sending emails in support of candidates. ‘The state of Iowa is a major destination for presidential candidates, who are on or near campus on a regular basis,’ said Speech First president Nicole Neily. ‘Many students learn about meet-and-greet events because events have traditionally been promoted through chalking – and by banning these advertisements and emails, students are missing out on major civic participation opportunities.’

Out of 33,000 students, the school’s reporting system received 100 reports made anonymously. This is how the System operates :

The university may be most legally vulnerable for its Campus Climate Reporting System, which is as Orwellian as it sounds. Under the ‘system,’ students are encouraged to report “bias incidents” to a panel that includes the chief and vice chief of the Iowa State University Police Department, the dean of students, and the university counsel.

Speech First says the school’s definition of bias is unconstitutionally ‘amorphous and entirely subjective,’ leaving students to ‘credibly fear that the expression of their deeply held views will be considered ‘biased’ and reported.’ The university’s examples of reportable bias acts include ‘commentary in the classroom perceived as derogatory or biased.’

There are a number of factors that concern me regarding this process:

  • Although the total number of incidents is listed, it isn’t clear how many of them were verified as true, how many were dismissed, and what the specific lists of incidents were. Consequences for violators are up to the System team.
  • It isn’t clear whether there are consequences for people who use the system illegitimately. In other words, if someone is accused inappropriately or unfairly, he or she appears to have no recourse against the accuser.
  • There appears to be no process to determine what a successful System would look like, whether it’s working, and whether it should be continued.
  • A “Climate Report” has been issued to define and describe the climate on campus and the ends that are sought. Many of the criteria are vague, subjective and biased.
  • On the negative side, I’m concerned that Speech First, probably unintentionally, is creating a climate of helplessness for the conservative student; students may come to believe that they can’t challenge the system for any number of reasons, and will assume that they must be protected from an unclear threat from the university.
  • It’s not clear whether the mere threat of punishment is unconstitutional.

On balance, I support Speech First’s efforts to fight for free speech on college campuses. But I would like to see the promotion of their efforts described as empowering students, not holding their hands against the university administration.

Meanwhile, universities should take notice: we’re fighting back!

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There are 32 comments.

  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn:

    This is how the System operates :

    The university may be most legally vulnerable for its Campus Climate Reporting System, which is as Orwellian as it sounds. Under the ‘system,’ students are encouraged to report “bias incidents” to a panel that includes the chief and vice chief of the Iowa State University Police Department, the dean of students, and the university counsel.

    Speech First says the school’s definition of bias is unconstitutionally ‘amorphous and entirely subjective,’ [….]

    What a dumb complaint for a court of law. The school’s definition of “bias” is irrelevant. The real problem is that bias of any kind in speech is nowhere and at no time illegal. So why is it reported to police? Let the university explain what possible purpose that could serve other than intimidation. 

    When lawsuits are necessary to protect students’ financial investment in colleges that try to boot them unjustly, then a national fund of some kind could be useful. The broader value is connecting students nationally so they have the courage to express themselves openly. Relenting to intimidation is the main reason conservatives are losing the culture war.

    • #1
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:45 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Relenting to intimidation is the main reason conservatives are losing the culture war.

    Thanks, @aaronmiller. I think you voiced my concern better than I could!

    • #2
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:50 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is also the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which has been doing great work in this area for many years.

    • #3
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:19 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    David Foster (View Comment):

    There is also the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which has been doing great work in this area for many years.

    I agree, @davidfoster. I’ve always seen their approach as more hard-hitting than the approach of Speech First. For anyone who wants to check out FIRE . . .

    • #4
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I want to elaborate on @aaronmiller‘s comment above. Conservatives have complained in the past about how they are put upon, and always tried to get along with others when they felt they lacked power to get things done. I think that it’s time we use some of our Republican politicians as examples of fighting for what’s right: Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, and those who side with them. We can include President Trump and AG Barr. How about a new slogan for all of them, politicians and students alike: NO EXCUSES!

    • #5
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:28 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn:

    • It’s not clear whether the mere threat of punishment is unconstitutional.

     

    (Please note my discussion of the word “mere” in another post.)

    When a “threat of punishment” is issued in a situation where there is a great disparity of power — government/university to citizen/student — it is not simply an expression of disapproval, it is intended to deter an act or invoke a consequence. If the act to be deterred is constitutionally protected, then the threat is an abridgment of an individual’s constitutional rights. 

    • #6
    • January 12, 2020, at 12:09 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    • It’s not clear whether the mere threat of punishment is unconstitutional.

     

    (Please note my discussion of the word “mere” in another post.)

    When a “threat of punishment” is issued in a situation where there is a great disparity of power — government/university to citizen/student — it is not simply an expression of disapproval, it is intended to deter an act or invoke a consequence. If the act to be deterred is constitutionally protected, then the threat is an abridgment of an individual’s constitutional rights.

    Excellent point,@rodin. It’s backed up by the fact that the committee was made up of high level people of the university, not just student peers. If they didn’t mean to intimidate, they wouldn’t have needed all those elites ruling. Thank you. And thank you for reminding me of your post.

    • #7
    • January 12, 2020, at 12:22 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Don’t have time to read this yet, but when I saw that photo of the sidewalk message I thought, “I’d be carrying a piece of chalk in my backpack and would write: ‘So what? Still doesn’t make it right.'”

    • #8
    • January 12, 2020, at 12:25 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Don’t have time to read this yet, but when I saw that photo of the sidewalk message I thought, “I’d be carrying a piece of chalk in my backpack and would write: ‘So what? Still doesn’t make it right.’”

    True. And it makes my point that all sides should have a voice. Not just the Left.

    • #9
    • January 12, 2020, at 12:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Full Size Tabby Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    • It’s not clear whether the mere threat of punishment is unconstitutional.

     

    (Please note my discussion of the word “mere” in another post.)

    When a “threat of punishment” is issued in a situation where there is a great disparity of power — government/university to citizen/student — it is not simply an expression of disapproval, it is intended to deter an act or invoke a consequence. If the act to be deterred is constitutionally protected, then the threat is an abridgment of an individual’s constitutional rights.

    Excellent point,@rodin. It’s backed up by the fact that the committee was made up of high level people of the university, not just student peers. If they didn’t mean to intimidate, they wouldn’t have needed all those elites ruling. Thank you. And thank you for reminding me of your post.

    I think the basis for Speech First’s approach is that few if any students are likely to say something that will generate an actual case. Just the process of being called before the “bias response team” would be punishment, so the very existence of the “bias response team” accomplishes the purpose by intimidating students into silence. The objective is accomplished without ever having to discipline formally any student.

     

    • #10
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:08 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I think the basis for Speech First’s approach is that few if any students are likely to say something that will generate an actual case. Just the process of being called before the “bias response team” would be punishment, so the very existence of the “bias response team” accomplishes the purpose by intimidating students into silence. The objective is accomplished without ever having to discipline formally any student.

    I see your point, @fullsizetabby. The fact is, however, that 100 complaints were filed; whether in the committee’s view they were valid, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that the very existence of the system is meant to stop students from speaking out, but I’m disturbed that more conservative students aren’t defying the system. We don’t even know if anyone has ended up being in trouble. The point I’m trying to make is that I think there is more power behind testing the system and advertising what happened. Think about the changes that took place when male students were accused of attacking female students (and this is not nearly as awful); the powers-that-be were called out and the systems began to change. Then again, would I have challenged the system as a 17-year old?

    How about Speech First representing students who are called out? When they are notified or have to attend a hearing?

    • #11
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:22 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Full Size Tabby Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Then again, would I have challenged the system as a 17-year old?

    How about Speech First representing students who are called out? When they are notified or have to attend a hearing?

    I certainly wouldn’t have challenged the system as a 17-year old. Heck, even though I’m 63 years old and more-or-less retired, I’m not prepared to challenge the California State Bar (which has issued the professional license on which I still might want to rely for some earnings) on its programs to silence dissent from Leftist propaganda. The risk is too high. If I lose, every possibility for future income is gone. But the risks are not reciprocal. If the institution “loses,” it suffers no real consequences. The institution just charges more to future students (or in my case, lawyers) to recover any monetary damages the institution has to pay out. But no one gets fired. No one loses their pension. And the institution just devises another mechanism to accomplish its objectives, to await another daredevil to challenge it. 

    So, the issue is that there will be few or no students who are called out. And it’s likely that a large portion of the students who are called out will have done extreme things that fair minded people will have trouble defending. Students (and in my case even lawyers) will try assiduously to avoid ever be called out, so there will be none for Speech First (or FIRE) to represent.

    Few rational people are willing to test the system. 

    • #12
    • January 12, 2020, at 3:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m pretty sure that the very existence of the system is meant to stop students from speaking out, but I’m disturbed that more conservative students aren’t defying the system. We don’t even know if anyone has ended up being in trouble. The point I’m trying to make is that I think there is more power behind testing the system and advertising what happened. Think about the changes that took place when male students were accused of attacking female students (and this is not nearly as awful); the powers-that-be were called out and the systems began to change. Then again, would I have challenged the system as a 17-year old?

    I’d love to see a pack of lawyers descend when a university brings a student in for a ‘violation’ but doesn’t read him Miranda rights first – since they are operating a police force and are making a legal determination (eligibility to continue in their program). I’ve little doubt that I am wrong on the particulars here, but I’d like to rain down paralegals and paratroopers anyway. 

    The thing is this; students go into considerable debt and have to work particularly hard in order to get a degree. The admin can scuttle that at whim. 

    Every year plenty of students fail out of schools with a lifetime of debt (not to mention the ones that make it all the way through but get a larger debt and a useless degree). I’m willing to accept this as a cost of doing business, but leveraging this possibility of crushing debt to silence American citizens is foul to begin with, an outright disgrace in any institution built on bettering the mind, and a violation of the Constitution by any school that receives federal funds/is subject to federal laws regarding how they do business. 

    Oh, and it is also hideously paternalistic and insulting to the alleged adults who go to school there. 

    • #13
    • January 12, 2020, at 3:58 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    So, the issue is that there will be few or no students who are called out. And it’s likely that a large portion of the students who are called out will have done extreme things that fair minded people will have trouble defending.

    I’m afraid I don’t share your confidence. Maybe Speech First will be successful in the lawsuits it pursuits.

    • #14
    • January 12, 2020, at 5:17 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    TBA (View Comment):
    Oh, and it is also hideously paternalistic and insulting to the alleged adults who go to school there. 

    “Alleged adults” is the operative word here. I’m not sure they deserve that description.

    • #15
    • January 12, 2020, at 5:19 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. Stina Member

    Susan Quinn: On the negative side, I’m concerned that Speech First, probably unintentionally, is creating a climate of helplessness for the conservative student; students may come to believe that they can’t challenge the system for any number of reasons, and will assume that they must be protected from an unclear threat from the university.

    So what?

    The individual’s power is limited. Free association is what gives the individual teeth.

    George Washington didn’t fight the war by himself.

    • #16
    • January 12, 2020, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: On the negative side, I’m concerned that Speech First, probably unintentionally, is creating a climate of helplessness for the conservative student; students may come to believe that they can’t challenge the system for any number of reasons, and will assume that they must be protected from an unclear threat from the university.

    So what?

    The individual’s power is limited. Free association is what gives the individual teeth.

    George Washington didn’t fight the war by himself.

    So you’re equating timid students who are afraid to stand up for themselves without someone holding their hands, with George Washington who repeatedly put his life on the line, leading his troops in battle, fighting for this country’s independence. Got it.

    • #17
    • January 13, 2020, at 5:35 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Andrew Klavan says he’s often asked by college students, “How can I stand up for my values (free speech, presumably)?” He replies, “The real question you’re asking is, “How can I stand up for my values without suffering consequences?” That’s a rhetorical question. You can’t. 

    I don’t see any value in what Speech First is doing that isn’t already best done by FIRE. Take your hits and then sue the hell out of them, or be intimidated into silence. Those are the choices.

    • #18
    • January 13, 2020, at 6:18 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Andrew Klavan says he’s often asked by college students, “How can I stand up for my values (free speech, presumably)?” He replies, “The real question you’re asking is, “How can I stand up for my values without suffering consequences?” That’s a rhetorical question. You can’t.

    I don’t see any value in what Speech First is doing that isn’t already best done by FIRE. Take your hits and then sue the hell out of them, or be intimidated into silence. Those are the choices.

    Thank you, WC. Well said.

    • #19
    • January 13, 2020, at 6:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What the universities are doing is vile and (should be) contrary to their mission (which has become indoctrination, not education). What parents are doing paying for it is irresponsible. Of course, I can say that because my kid goes to Hillsdale, where even Bernie supporters feel free to stand up and ask stupid questions in front of largely conservative adult audiences at Hillsdale seminars. 

    • #20
    • January 13, 2020, at 6:22 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Here’s an example of an institution allowing itself to be intimidated by government. From my church bulletin:

    Restoration Bags

    [My church’s] Women’s Ministry will be collecting items to bring hope to rescued victims of human trafficking. Restoration bags are a critical part of the FBI and Homeland Security victim outreach program. There will be drop-off boxes available at both church entrances before and after Masses on weekends. . . Only new items, please. You may include an encouraging note in an unsealed envelope, but no religious notes are permitted per government regulations

    The FBI and Homeland Security will take our charity and encouragement, but not so much as a “God bless you,” or “God loves you.” By what right? The Constitution is a check on government, not us! Government is prohibited from establishing a state religion (or favoring one over another). 

    Let’s just say, my enthusiasm for this charity has been dampened. 

    • #21
    • January 13, 2020, at 6:34 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. The Reticulator Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    There is also the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which has been doing great work in this area for many years.

    I agree, @davidfoster. I’ve always seen their approach as more hard-hitting than the approach of Speech First. For anyone who wants to check out FIRE . . .

    I see nothing wrong with having two different groups working on this issue, using two different strategies to reach different but related goals. It’s not good when the left has to defend against only one source of opposition. Why allow them the luxury of having only one opponent to discredit?

    • #22
    • January 13, 2020, at 7:16 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    There is also the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which has been doing great work in this area for many years.

    I agree, @davidfoster. I’ve always seen their approach as more hard-hitting than the approach of Speech First. For anyone who wants to check out FIRE . . .

    I see nothing wrong with having two different groups working on this issue, using two different strategies to reach different but related goals. It’s not good when the left has to defend against only one source of opposition. Why allow them the luxury of having only one opponent to discredit?

    It’s not the number of groups that matters to me, @thereticulator. As this post has progressed, I’m being persuaded that Speech First can have a disempowering effect for students who need to stand up for themselves.

    • #23
    • January 13, 2020, at 7:18 AM PST
    • Like
  24. The Reticulator Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    There is also the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which has been doing great work in this area for many years.

    I agree, @davidfoster. I’ve always seen their approach as more hard-hitting than the approach of Speech First. For anyone who wants to check out FIRE . . .

    I see nothing wrong with having two different groups working on this issue, using two different strategies to reach different but related goals. It’s not good when the left has to defend against only one source of opposition. Why allow them the luxury of having only one opponent to discredit?

    It’s not the number of groups that matters to me, @thereticulator. As this post has progressed, I’m being persuaded that Speech First can have a disempowering effect for students who need to stand up for themselves.

    Maybe I missed something but I don’t see where that comes from. Did the existence of the ACLU (back in the days when it really was a defender of free speech) have a disempowering effect on citizens who need to stand up for themselves? 

    • #24
    • January 13, 2020, at 7:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Another thing to think about: If you care about free speech, DO NOT make any contributions to your alma mater, or to any other institution, without first checking their record on this issue. FIRE has a useful summary, with detail behind it.

    • #25
    • January 13, 2020, at 7:42 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  26. Rodin Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Another thing to think about: If you care about free speech, DO NOT make any contributions to your alma mater, or to any other institution, without first checking their record on this issue. FIRE has a useful summary, with detail behind it.

    Here is the like to the database: https://www.thefire.org/resources/spotlight/

    • #26
    • January 13, 2020, at 8:13 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Maybe I missed something but I don’t see where that comes from. Did the existence of the ACLU (back in the days when it really was a defender of free speech) have a disempowering effect on citizens who need to stand up for themselves? 

    Speech First goes after the universities whose policies they think limit free speech, in some ways protecting students who are afraid to speak out. I believe FIRE takes on actual cases to defend the students after they’ve been accused. If someone knows otherwise, please correct me. From FIRE:

    How does FIRE pick its cases?

    FIRE responds to all case submissions. We only take cases, however, that fall within FIRE’s mission and programs. FIRE has limited resources and receives a remarkable number of requests for help. We are, therefore, unable to take many cases that touch upon important issues. FIRE does not adjudicate genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from the staff of colleges or universities, involve elementary or high schools, are from outside the United States, or are submitted by phone or fax.

    • #27
    • January 13, 2020, at 8:39 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. The Reticulator Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Maybe I missed something but I don’t see where that comes from. Did the existence of the ACLU (back in the days when it really was a defender of free speech) have a disempowering effect on citizens who need to stand up for themselves?

    Speech First goes after the universities whose policies they think limit free speech, in some ways protecting students who are afraid to speak out. I believe FIRE takes on actual cases to defend the students after they’ve been accused. If someone knows otherwise, please correct me. From FIRE:

    How does FIRE pick its cases?

    FIRE responds to all case submissions. We only take cases, however, that fall within FIRE’s mission and programs. FIRE has limited resources and receives a remarkable number of requests for help. We are, therefore, unable to take many cases that touch upon important issues. FIRE does not adjudicate genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from the staff of colleges or universities, involve elementary or high schools, are from outside the United States, or are submitted by phone or fax.

    I have to say I like that combo. FIRE deals with cases, and Speech First deals with university policies. Students are more likely to stand up against university repression if they know organizations like this are also fighting the good fight. It can be good for morale, even if they don’t get helped directly.

    • #28
    • January 13, 2020, at 10:16 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Maybe I missed something but I don’t see where that comes from. Did the existence of the ACLU (back in the days when it really was a defender of free speech) have a disempowering effect on citizens who need to stand up for themselves?

    Speech First goes after the universities whose policies they think limit free speech, in some ways protecting students who are afraid to speak out. I believe FIRE takes on actual cases to defend the students after they’ve been accused. If someone knows otherwise, please correct me. From FIRE:

    How does FIRE pick its cases?

    FIRE responds to all case submissions. We only take cases, however, that fall within FIRE’s mission and programs. FIRE has limited resources and receives a remarkable number of requests for help. We are, therefore, unable to take many cases that touch upon important issues. FIRE does not adjudicate genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from the staff of colleges or universities, involve elementary or high schools, are from outside the United States, or are submitted by phone or fax.

    I have to say I like that combo. FIRE deals with cases, and Speech First deals with university policies. Students are more likely to stand up against university repression if they know organizations like this are also fighting the good fight. It can be good for morale, even if they don’t get helped directly.

    Yeah, I don’t see any harm in it. 

    • #29
    • January 13, 2020, at 10:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I have to say I like that combo. FIRE deals with cases, and Speech First deals with university policies. Students are more likely to stand up against university repression if they know organizations like this are also fighting the good fight. It can be good for morale, even if they don’t get helped directly.

    Just keep in mind that unless a student speaks in a way that “threatens” someone, they have no need to go to FIRE. There won’t be a case for FIRE to represent. Conservatives can still bite their tongues so they can feel safe, hoping that Speech First goes after the universities. At some point, a university will get a ruling that says that having policies that students interpret as squelching their speech doesn’t make a valid case. Just watch.

    • #30
    • January 13, 2020, at 10:32 AM PST
    • 1 like