22.1.09

OBSERVATION OF THE DAY. Budget problems ought not trump infringements of free expression.

No doubt the university is more focused on budget issues than speech codes right now, but following court decisions should not be optional for universities. The letter will serve as notice that free speech advocates will be on the lookout for violations, including at [St. Cloud State], which still has a "red light" for its speech code from FIRE.
The Foundation has been alerting universities by certified mail that their speech and harassment policies are actionable.
By sending out our warning letter via certified mail, FIRE has now made it all but impossible for policymakers at public colleges and universities to argue that they were either (a) ignorant of their obligations to uphold the First Amendment on campus or (b) ignorant of the fact that their present policies encroach upon First Amendment freedoms.
Northern Illinois University, which also has a "red light" speech code rating, is among the recipients of these letters.


The Speech Code Widget originated here, and I will be pleased to publish Northern Illinois University's response, particularly if it is to rescind the free speech zone policy, should somebody in Altgeld see fit to send it to me.

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