As we approach Election Day, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is concerned by the growing trend towards preemptive censorship of political expressive activity on our nation's college and university campuses.
At the University of Illinois, for instance, faculty and staff members were recently told that they could not participate in a wide variety of political activity on campus, even including wearing a pin or button in support of a political candidate or placing a partisan bumper sticker on one's car. At the University of Oklahoma, students and faculty were recently notified that they could not use their school e-mail accounts to disseminate any partisan or political speech, including political humor and commentary.
These and similar cases have demonstrated to FIRE the need to reiterate and emphasize the protections that apply to political speech on campus. In determining policy regarding political speech, colleges and universities must heed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, as well as state and federal law. However, we must remind university administrators that, correctly interpreted, none of these legal guidelines seriously conflict with the equally crucial duty to uphold the First Amendment and basic principles of free expression on campus.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
FIRE Policy Statement on Political Activity on Campus
I just received an email from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that I believe many of you will find valuable as well: