(Oct. 4, 2022) Atlanta, GA: Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) continues its decade-long work to stop America’s universities from silencing conservative and libertarian students. In letters sent to twelve colleges across the country, SLF demanded that administrators revise policies that infringe on students’ freedom of speech. Each of the policies highlighted in SLF’s letters operate to deter conservative and libertarian students from sharing their views on campus. Bias reporting systems and bias response teams stifle free expression by establishing a police state on campus, where students who cannot bear to hear views they disagree with report their conservative and libertarian classmates to campus administrators. And through unreasonable facilities use policies, college bureaucrats create so much red tape on campus that students are effectively denied the right to speak.
SLF sent these letters as part of its 1A Project, through which SLF educates the public about students’ First Amendment rights on college campuses and takes legal action on behalf of students whose rights are violated. Director of the 1A Project, Cece O’Leary, says, “Students have had enough. After the time lost due to the pandemic, they just want to engage in normal speech activities on campus again—something that is fundamental to the college experience. But colleges are silencing them once again, this time through policies that are often buried on their websites.”
In each letter, SLF demanded that the unconstitutional policies be removed altogether or revised to ensure that speech is protected.
Kimberly Hermann, SLF General Counsel explains: “College is meant to be the time and place for students to engage in civil discourse and prepare themselves for the real world. Instead of fostering discussion, colleges across our nation insist on silencing conservative and libertarian students they disagree with, doing a disservice to their students and our country.”
As SLF points out in its letters, many of these policies are so vague that students do not know how to even comply with them. “Anti-harassment and anti-bias codes ban students from ‘offending’ other students. But how can students predict what will offend their peers, especially in this day and age?” O’Leary says. “And through facilities use policies, many students are led to believe that unless they make a reservation weeks in advance, they have no right to speak on campus. That is plainly unconstitutional.”
SLF will continue to monitor the universities’ responses.
Read the letters here:
SLF Letter to University of Maine
SLF Letter to Clemson University
SLF Letter to Louisiana State University
SLF Letter to Illinois State University
SLF Letter to University of South Carolina
SLF Letter to Santa Rosa Junior College
SLF Letter to Rutgers University
SLF Letter to Miami University
SLF Letter to Iowa State University
SLF Letter to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
SLF Letter to Southern Utah University
SLF Letter to Bowling Green State University
Download full press release.