Is There Freedom Of Speech In College? – Learn Liberty


This photo shows Mary Beth Tinker and
Isaac Smith. Mary Beth sued her school district
when she was sent home for wearing a black armband to
protest the Vietnam War. That act of pushing back
resulted in the landmark decision Tinker v
Des Moines Independent School District. In which the Supreme Court stated
neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech
or expression at the school house gate. Isaac Smith sued Ohio University in
July 2014 to force the University to reform a vague policy that
forbade any act that degrades, demeans, or disgraces another student. He feared that broad policy
would be used to punish him and other members of his group,
Students Defending Students, for wearing an off color t-shirt with
the slogan We Get You Off For Free. The two of them are part of a noble
tradition of people standing up to assert their right to express themselves. A tradition that is coming
increasingly under fire on college and university campuses. That photograph captures
the spirit of Fire’s Stand Up For Speech litigation project. Stand Up For
Speech Exists to support any student or faculty member who wants to join
Mary Beth Tinker, Isaac Smith, and countless others in the fight for
free expression. If your expressive rights have
been violated on a college or university campus. And you want to fight back in court,
Fire is waiting to help. My job is to sift through
the numerous inquires Fire gets. And figure out which might be
best resolved through litigation. Just is a word I hear a lot. As in I just wanted to hand out flyers,
but I was told I could only do so in a tiny free speech zone. Or I just wanted to collect signatures for
a petition. Or I just wanted to recruit members for
my student group. When students first contact us,
they’re often apologetic. As if they were the ones
being unreasonable for objecting to being censored. But big principles often
hide in small incidents. After all, Rosa Parks just wanted to keep a seat
on the bus after a long day at work. Stand up for speech targets,
public universities, because they are bound
by the First Amendment. Most people don’t think of universities
as the government, like the police or legislature, or DMV. But university administrators
are public officials and their schools are funded
by taxpayer dollars. That means that the college
administrator tells a student he or she needs special permission or
a permit to speak. It’s censorship, and the First Amendment
exists to make sure that doesn’t happen. Stand Up For Speech works simply. If someone wants to challenge their
school’s unconstitutional speech policies. And we agree that there’s a clear cut
violation of the First Amendment rights. We refer the case to an outside law firm. Then we work with the lawyers and
the plaintiff to reform the policies. The project has a straightforward but
ambitious goal. To change the risk calculation
of university administrators. So that the costs of violating the
First Amendment are greater than the so called benefits of keeping
controversy off campus. But Stand Up For
Speech doesn’t work without plaintiffs. For instance,
plaintiffs like Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich,
who sued Iowa State University for censoring their efforts to advocate for
marijuana legalization. Including forbidding them to include
an image of a cannabis leaf on a t-shirt design. In short, students who, to quote Aaron,
believe in standing up for what is right, even when,
especially when you are told to sit down. Stand Up For Speech has sponsored ten
lawsuits in a little over a year. And we will keep doing so until college
and university administrators let rough and tumble intellectual debate
take place without restriction. In other words, until they let
the school fulfill its mission.

25 thoughts on “Is There Freedom Of Speech In College? – Learn Liberty

  • Of course not. Universities with their universal teachings fill us with their notions and gave us then have us flood the fields.

    In other words, the thoughtless cycle continues.
    When you're a professor you don't have a job you have a tenure.

  • Why are government institutions so eager to control freedom of speech? It's almost like they fear the truth from those refusing to be slaves towards a tyrannical socialist hellhole. 

    On the other hand, it's quite depressing most people are already been brainwashed into believing socialism is a great cause(when it's clearly not)

  • Defending the right to practice free speech is a noble goal, indeed, but of all the arguments against censorship, unconstitutionality is one that administrators and other public officials seem to be indifferent to.

    It's not just free speech rights that are being curtailed in America's public universities and schools – especially schools, where violations of student rights are justified on the basis of their status as minors (or, for those 18 and older, by the fact they're allowed to drop out). Students are forbidden from carrying weapons, can be searched at any time without a warrant, and – in the case of schools – must receive permission to leave (lest they face truancy charges).

    By seeking an education of any kind – not that you have much of a choice in the matter – you're essentially waiving away your constitutional rights. The question is, what can we do about it?

  • Don't these arguments only apply to public universities? I don't see any reason why private universities have to protect your right to free speech when they aren't constitutionally require to do so.

  • No matter how stupid something is, it should still be alowed to be talk about.
    Just look at femenism, increbibly stupid, but I'm not gonna try and ban it, I will use logic and reason to defeat it.

    Only those whos position can not stand up to scrutiny try to ban speech. (Mostly religions, but femenism and communism also makes an apperance)

  • You have the right of free speech but bear in mind, what you say may have negative consequences that you did not expect.

  • The true danger of censorship lies not with the man who is no longer free to share his thought. The true danger lies with everybody else's loss of freedom to listen.

  • I think you guys should leave the source of the information (ideas, graphs, charts, quotes, etc) in the description of the video. Sometimes I spend a lot of time researching for this data so I can decide about its liability, It would be great help if you put the links to the sources in the description. Thanks!

  • The point that you missed is that most college students are still children. When a child misbehaves an adult has every right to correct the child's actions. You know, kids will be kids. Let them play but remember that they are simply children at play and do not take them seriously. Sit Down! and Shut Up should be standard policy in dealing with children; ie college students.

  • While I support free speech, I also support the rights of individuals over their property. So for private universities at least, I believe that the person that owns them should have the right to decide what goes on there and the right to kick people out

  • Watching in 2019, and Trump just gave an executive order so that colleges that don't protect free speech will lose federal funding.

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