University promised to get rid of 'free speech area' policy SIXTEEN years ago, so why is it still on the books?

Free speech nonprofit the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling on Western Illinois University to remove its “unconstitutional” “free speech area” policy. The university has made multiple promises to do so as far back as 2003, but so far has not scrapped the policy.

Campus officers have used the policy to stifle speech on campus as recently as March of this year. After an incident in which campus police shut down members of the student group Young Americans for Liberty for displaying satirical signs about “‘pot’ brownies” outside of the school free speech zone, FIRE called upon the university to end its “unconsitututional “free speech area” policy for good. 

The involved students had with them a literal “pot” full of normal, drugless brownies.

According to FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program director Adam Steinbaugh, the university was actually “ahead of the pack” when it vowed to do away with the policy 16 years  ago in 2003. But the policy was still on the books when campus police shut down the YAL event.

[RELATED: College clarifies free speech zone policy amid mounting pressure]

After FIRE contacted WIU in June about this contradiction, WIU reportedly told the organization that it would discontinue and remove the policy from the university website “as soon as possible.” 

But, the “free speech area” policy remains posted as students return to school for the fall. 

"WIU was ahead of the pack in 2003 when they said they’d eliminate their unconstitutional free speech zone,” Steinbaugh said, according to a FIRE news release. “Now it’s time they put their laudable words into action — by finally removing the restrictions that still stifle student expression today.”

[RELATED: Ky. bill would make every zone a 'free speech zone']

“Students, who have been back to class for more than two weeks, can still be punished by the policy that to this day remains published online and referenced as recently as this year,” FIRE noted in the Thursday news release. “FIRE today is calling on WIU Acting-President Martin Abraham to immediately remove the inconsistent policies that not only imperil students’ First Amendment rights, but exposes the institution to liability.”

“I was four wh

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13687

LAWSUIT: Public college threatened to arrest conservatives exercising First Amendment rights

A free speech nonprofit organization is suing a Mississippi community college after campus police stopped students from tabling on campus and even took them into a police station.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is suing Jones County Junior College because of a policy that requires groups to fill out paperwork before “gathering for any purpose” on campus, according to a news release.

The policy became an issue when Jones County Junior College student Mike Brown and other Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) activists polled students on campus in April to see if they support the legalization of recreational marijuana. However, according to FIRE, the YAL members were quickly stopped by campus police, all because paperwork was not filled out before the event.

[RELATED: DOJ slams U. of Iowa in Christian student group’s lawsuit]

The campus police even took Brown into the station, according to the lawsuit. 

When Brown asked the campus police officer what policy they violated, she replied: “That’s illegal, first of all, and you’re on a school campus.”

According to the lawsuit, Stan Livingston, chief of campus police, told Brown that he was “smarter than that [violating the policy].”

“Some people get in trouble for smoking weed, but at Jones College, I got in trouble just for trying to talk about it,” Brown said, according to FIRE. “College is for cultivating thought and learning and encouraging civil discourse with your peers. That’s not what’s happening at Jones College.”

This was not the first time Brown had been reprimanded over his alleged violations of the campus speech policies. 

In February, according to FIRE, Brown and YAL staffer Mitch Strider tried to bring on campus a “free speech ball” onto which students can write anything they want while talking with coordinators about free speech.

The community college told them that they could not be on campus without prior administrative approval. JCJC also told individuals with whom Brown was tabling to leave campus, threatening arrest.

Strider, who was with Brown at the free speech ball event, spoke with Campus Reform about the situation at the school.

“I believe JCJC's speech policy is unconstitutional because as a public institution of higher learning, JCJC is obligated to uphold civil liberti

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13686

TSU official pens letter to 'racist' U Alabama after dean's resignation

A Tennessee State University official accused the University of Alabama of systemic racism and being on the “wrong side of history” after a UA dean resigned on Thursday amid controversy surrounding his old tweets.

Assistant vice president and dean of students at UA Jamie Riley resigned Thursday after Breitbart News published several of his tweets from 2016 and 2017  in a Wednesday article. The tweets expressed disdain for the American flag, the opinions of “white people” regarding racism, and American law enforcement officers.

[RELATED: U. Alabama dean resigns after tweets tying American flag, police to racism resurface]

After news of the African American dean’s resignation broke, Tennessee State University Men’s Initiative Program Coordinator GeColby J. Youngblood penned an open letter to UA officials, alleging that Riley’s resignation was the result of “the University of Alabama, again, being a historically racist institution, to the detriment of a Black person.”

Youngblood noted that he was considering attending UA to obtain his Ph.D., partially motivated by the fact that Riley was serving as the Dean of Students, but that he would no longer be open to the possibility of attending the “hubris space.”

Youngblood questioned how “an ultra-conservative, unaffiliated...political group," presumably Breitbart, was able to obtain “access to communicate with the University” regarding Riley, as well as whether or not the university was sincerely “committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity in University leadership.”

[RELATED: University's 'racial justice' definition eerily similar to socialism] 

The Tennessee State official invoked historic images of the University of Alabama during the Civil Rights era, as well as the state’s overall history with racism, including the arrest of Rosa Parks, and the fact that Montgomery, Ala. was once the capital of the Confederate States of America.

“Dr. Riley’s tweets helped me realize a truth: the University of Alabama is a privileged academic space idolized by a state that, arguably, owns one of the most racist histories in the world—a hubris space, that is not, and never wants to be, a space intended for me, nor other prospective scholars like me,” Youngblood wrote.

The TSU official concluded his letter by asking, “Perhaps, the

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13685

Conservative women's group on removing photos of male scholars: 'We don't have to erase men' for female success

Elite universities across the country are dismantling walls made up of portraits of doctors, scientists, and other notable alumni. The reason? Too many of them are white males.

Motivated by feelings of diversity and “exclusion,” many of America’s top universities are struggling to decide what to do with their own “dude walls” honoring university community members for their outstanding achievements, according to NPR.

Rockefeller University in New York is the oldest biomedical research university in the U.S., with an impressive list of alumni who have been awarded either the Nobel Prize or the Lasker Award. As such, the university honors these individuals by showcasing their portraits. The only catch: they are all men, and some within the community view this as a serious problem.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reportedly termed this wall of male photos a “dude wall” when speaking at the school in 2015.

Rockefeller University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute neurobiologist Leslie Vosshall, and others within the community have banded together to form a committee, dedicated to bringing more diversity to the wall.

[RELATED: Capitalism-bashing prof now has a new punching bag: 'White men' (VIDEO)]

It is unclear if Vosshall and her counterparts want to expand the qualifications for being placed on the wall, or if they want to ensure that more non-white and female Rockefeller students become Nobel and Lasker recipients. 

"One hundred percent of them are men,” Vosshall said. “It's probably 30 headshots of 30 men. So it's imposing.”

"I think every institution needs to go out into the hallway and ask, 'what kind of message are we sending with these oil portraits and dusty old photographs?'” she added, claiming that the wall “sends the message, every day when you walk by it, that science consists of old white men.”

But the “dude wall” controversy isn’t unique to Rockefeller. Yale’s School of Medicine is home to a gallery of similar portraits, with all except three being of white men.

"I don't necessarily always have a reaction,” Yale medical student Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako told NPR. “But then there are times when you're having a really bad day — someone says something racist to you, or you're struggling with feeling like you belong in the space — and then you see all those photos and

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13684

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