Colorado State University: Students Fight for Rights to Free Speech and Assembly

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Colorado State University

Colorado State University (CSU) completely revised three formerly unconstitutional speech codes. The changes came after student activists at CSU, with help from FIRE, pressured the university to uphold the constitutional rights of CSU students. Concerned CSU students requested help from FIRE in contesting several unconstitutional policies that restricted students’ expression and assembly on campus. FIRE wrote a letter to CSU President Larry E. Penley urging him to change three unconstitutional policies and the CSU Campus Libertarians held a rally in celebration of free speech outside of the designated “primary ‘Public Forum’ space.”  CSU then revised its unconstitutional speech codes.

  • Colo. State revises campus speech codes

    July 27, 2007

    Colorado State University has revised its campus speech codes after lobbying by student activists and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The university in Fort Collins revised three policies that groups said violated the First Amendment after concerns arose over restrictions on residence-hall advertising. The Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper reported that the Campus Libertarians began requesting change in the advertising, hate-incidents and peaceful-assembly policies in fall 2006. The Campus Libertarians, while campaigning for a marijuana-legalization amendment to the state’s constitution, were denied permission to hang posters in the residence halls to support their cause. At the time, “offensive language” […]

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  • A win for free speech at CSU

    July 25, 2007

    It’s big news when a university adopts a restrictive speech code. But it’s often ignored when one is improved in response to student protests. Colorado State University’s new policies on speech, student protests and residence hall advertising are all big improvements over the restrictive policies of the past, and the university deserves great credit for making the changes. The student groups that sought the changes deserve a big chunk of the credit, as does the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which championed the student cause. Prior policies at CSU on student protests, student speech and residence hall advertising […]

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  • Lawyer talks First Amendment

    May 2, 2007

    Offending people isn’t necessarily a bad thing, said First Amendment lawyer Greg Lukianoff. “Offense is something that happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged,” said Lukianoff, who was in the Clark Building on Tuesday night to talk about free speech on college campuses. “If you have gone to college for four years and you haven’t gotten your deepest beliefs challenged, ask for your money back.” Lukianoff works for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, and tackles individual cases of violations against free speech on campuses around the nation. Lukianoff has worked with CSU in the past. […]

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  • FIRE Starter

    April 19, 2007

    Colorado State University officials say the school is committed to free speech, but some students and civil liberties advocates aren’t so sure. The discrepancy has prompted officials to form a committee to clarify speech codes and a group of student government leaders to introduce a resolution that would do away with those deemed invasive. At the behest of a handful of students—predominantly members of the campus Libertarian Party and Students for Sensible Drug Policy—the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is lobbying administrators to lift restrictions on what they say is constitutionally protected speech. FIRE is a nonprofit group […]

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  • Making themselves heard

    April 15, 2007

    While Colorado State University has stated a commitment to honoring students’ freedom of expression, Seth Anthony says that many have begun to feel like they are no longer given the same rights as other Americans. “Many students think that it is illegal to protest on campus,” Anthony says. Which is not the case. Anthony, his Campus Libertarians and national watchdog organization Foundation for Individual Rights in Education are calling for CSU to change several of its policies that deal with freedom of speech. Seth Anthony of the Campus Libertarians says the university’s policies create a “chilling effect” around campus. In […]

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  • Group for free speech rallies on CSU campus

    April 12, 2007

    A group of Colorado State University students concerned about university infringements on their Constitutional rights to free speech had a rally Wednesday on the west lawn of the Lory Student Center. Libertarian Party of Colorado State University Chairman Seth Anthony, a CSU graduate student, organized the rally—in which media members outnumbered participants—in hope of clarifying rules the university uses to regulate assemblies and posting of fliers in dormitories. The rally effort was followed up by the introduction of a resolution at Wednesday night’s Associated Students of Colorado State University meeting that asked the university’s administration to review and modify any […]

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  • Group tackles CSU free-speech policy

    April 12, 2007

    A national watchdog group that looks for First Amendment violations on college campuses has called on CSU administration to correct three “restrictive speech codes,” including the university’s hate incidents and free-speech zone policies. On Wednesday, Associated Students of CSU debated a free-speech resolution and the CSU Libertarians held a three-person rally on the West Lawn of the Lory Student Center, making a point free speech could be conducted anywhere on campus, not just the Plaza. In a letter sent to CSU President Larry Penley on March 12, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education-commonly known as FIRE-charged the university with […]

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  • Where there is smoke, there is FIRE

    July 25, 2007

    For the First Amendment fighters employed by the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) patrolling America’s college campuses in search of speech codes, censorship, harassment and intimidation, the summer of 2007 has been a good year. Earlier this year when the University of Rhode Island tried to punish College Republicans for holding a mock whites-only scholarship, FIRE stepped in and the First Amendment prevailed. In June, FIRE was instrumental in making sure Walter Kehowski was able to return to the classroom. The Arizona professor was suspended from teaching his class at Glendale Community College when he used the […]

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  • Liberty lessons: Student complaints deep-six CSU speech limits

    July 23, 2007

    Here in the United States, we make a big deal about our right to free speech, and rightfully so. It is possibly the most misunderstood of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Some people seem to believe that under the First Amendment they have the right to say anything to anyone at anytime and no one can silence them. That’s not the way it works. The Supreme Court has ruled in numerous cases that the protections of the Constitution apply in instances where the government is restricting speech and even then, there are times when it is appropriate to […]

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  • CSU revises some policies on free speech

    July 20, 2007

    Colorado State University revised some of its free speech policies after students cried foul and solicited the help of a national nonprofit that supports First Amendment rights on college campuses. Changes to CSU’s advertising and “hate incidents” policies for residence halls could make the policies more lenient. CSU also clarified its policy about peaceful assembly on campus to allow it anywhere on campus as long as organizers contact the university’s event planning services before the assembly. “A lot of universities tend to keep their policies when we bring First Amendment rights to their attention, but (CSU) was very responsive and […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech at Colorado State University

    July 19, 2007

    FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 19, 2007—In a resounding victory for freedom of speech, Colorado State University (CSU) has completely revised three formerly unconstitutional speech codes. The changes came after student activists at CSU, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), pressured the university to uphold the constitutional rights of CSU students. “This is an exciting day for free speech at Colorado State,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “By making these changes, the administration has proven it is serious about protecting its students’ First Amendment rights, and we commend the university.” In February, concerned CSU students requested […]

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  • Colorado State: Revised Policies Still Miss the Mark

    June 15, 2007

    Colorado State University (CSU) was poised to eliminate two unconstitutional speech codes after pressure from FIRE and student activists, but FIRE was disappointed to learn this week that unconstitutional language has found its way back into the final versions of those revised policies. FIRE is asking CSU to revert to the previous drafts of the policies circulated in April, which protected students’ First Amendment rights.   In February, concerned CSU students requested help from FIRE in contesting several unconstitutional policies that restricted expression and assembly on campus. On March 12, FIRE wrote a letter to CSU President Larry E. Penley […]

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  • CSU and free speech

    April 15, 2007

    College and university administrators dread the bad publicity they get when students who have been offended by someone’s opinions or speech express their displeasure with protests. So they go to great lengths to adopt policies that will reduce the likelihood of offense, and never mind if a few constitutional rights are trampled in the process. And what do they get for this well-intentioned devotion to sweetness and light? Bad publicity. The latest institution to learn this lesson is Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which on Wednesday afternoon hosted a free-speech rally to celebrate the end of an inadvertently restrictive […]

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  • Students Fight for Their First Amendment Rights at Colorado State University

    April 11, 2007

    FORT COLLINS, Colorado, April 11, 2007—Students at Colorado State University (CSU) are holding a rally today to celebrate their university’s clarification of a restrictive free speech zone policy. This rally comes after concerned students, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), successfully pressured the university to make clear that free speech is the norm, rather than an exception, on campus. Unfortunately, CSU’s embrace of free speech is only partial, since the public university still maintains other policies that prohibit constitutionally protected speech. “FIRE is pleased that CSU acted so quickly to clarify one of its main […]

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