Tag: Free Speech

Campus Tells Hawaii Students They Cannot Hand Out Copies of the Constitution; Students Sue — Greg Lukianoff


Less than four months after a student in California was told that he could not hand out copies of the Constitution—on Constitution Day (September 17), no less—two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo were told by a campus official that they could not hand out copies of the Constitution  to their fellow students at UH Hilo’s student organization fair in January.

When one of the students protested that they were acting within their rights, the official replied, “It’s not about your rights in this case, it’s about the University policy that you can’t approach people.”

Enlightened Elites Are Kindly Granting You A Grace Period In Which to Dissent — Merina Smith


What do you think of the public statement signed by a cadre of intellectuals entitled Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have BothThe statement, signed by supporters of gay marriage, calls for more tolerance in the debate over the issue, pointing to recent incidents like the controversy surrounding Brendan Eich:

We support same-sex marriage; many of us have worked for it, in some cases for a large portion of our professional and personal lives. We affirm our unwavering commitment to civic and legal equality, including marriage equality. At the same time, we also affirm our unwavering commitment to the values of the open society and to vigorous public debate—the values that have brought us to the brink of victory.

An Open Letter From Charles Murray to the Students of Azusa Pacific University — Peter Robinson


Because Charles says it all, I post this — this brilliant and biting and sad letter — without comment:

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”

Ricochet’s Greg Lukianoff on the State of Free Speech in America


The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), helmed by Ricochet’s own Greg Lukianoff, recently hosted a panel discussion at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia about “The State of Free Speech in America.” 

Greg was joined for the discussion by Stanley Fish of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, University of Chicago Law School Professor Eric Posner, and Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution. National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen moderated the debate.

Brandeis, Hirsi Ali, and the Echo Chamber Generation


Last week, I wrote, once again, about “disinvitation season” on campus, the time of year when students and faculty join together to demand some voices not be heard on their campuses.

Shortly after that, however, the biggest controversy this season erupted at Brandeis University when the university decided to revoke the honorary degree it was planning to give to feminist and atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. 

First-in-the-Nation Law in Virginia Bans Unconstitutional Campus ‘Free Speech Zones’


On Friday, April 3, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a first-of-its-kind bill that effectively designates all outdoor areas on Virginia public campuses as public forums. This has the practical effect of not allowing campus speech to be quarantined into ‘free speech zones.’ I wrote a column announcing the news over at The Huffington Post:

Students in Virginia might be surprised to know that the open areas on campus were not already public forums, but the Virginia state legislature has made it official. The bill, authored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, passed both houses of the Virginia General Assembly unanimously. My organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), urged the passage of the bill, and FIRE’s own Joe Cohn testified on behalf of the legislation in hearings in both legislative houses.

SCOTUS Campaign Finance Ruling: Right Outcome, Wrong Reasoning


Yesterday, the Supreme Court occasioned much gnashing of liberal teeth by striking down one more piece of the federal campaign finance laws. At issue was the fact that, while the law limited an individual’s contributions to any candidate to $2,600 per election, it also sets a ceiling of $48,600 in cumulative giving to candidates.


A Debate on Free Speech


I recently accepted an invitation from Jeffrey Rosen at the National Constitution Center to talk with my University of Chicago colleague Geoffrey Stone about the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, establishing the standards by which reporting about public officials can be considered to be defamation or libel.

In this conversation, we discuss whether this was a positive step forward for the free press or whether it needs to be revisited. Hear the debate below:

Crowd Control or Message Control?


Over at SCOTUSblog, there is an interesting analysis of a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.  The case, Wood v. Moss, stems from a 2004 incident in Jacksonville, Oregon, where President George W. Bush was campaigning for reelection. When President Bush deviated from plans and chose to dine in the outdoor patio area of a hotel restaurant, Secret Service agents and local police had to improvise so as to maintain a secure perimeter around him. 

Protip from Dartmouth Student to UCSB and Stanford: Run Over Free Speech with Your Car — Greg Lukianoff


Being offended is what happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged. And if you make it through four years of college without having your deepest beliefs challenged, you should demand your money back.

I have been saying that in speeches on campus for more than a decade. Even though the line often gets a laugh, the idea that students have a “right not to be offended” seems more entrenched on campus than ever.