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We are not hostile, we just want to eliminate you

Posted on October 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Alliance Defense Fund has been running ads in a number of campus newspapers across the country to encourage students at schools with onerous, unconstitutional policies to stand up for their rights.
In an Oct. 20 piece in response to the ADF Center for Academic Freedom ad that appeared in the University of Iowa’s “Daily Iowan,” self-described UI admissions counselor” Tom Gioielli assures readers that ADF is blowing smoke about the threat against free speech on campus:

As I was perusing through the Oct. 19 issue of The Daily Iowan, I was intrigued by a half-page advertisement from the Alliance Defense Fund that read “College Students Deserve An Education Not Indoctrination.” Thinking this was a very true statement and a great point, I then looked under the caption to see the following statement: “Christian students at our public universities are being denied their right to openly express what they believe.”

 I’m sorry to be rude, but what the hell has this group been smoking?

Gioielli continues:

Now should religious figures be silenced at all on our college campus? Of course not. They have every right to speak what they believe as I do.

Fair enough, right?  Well, stand by for the conclusion – his message to Christians and the call-to-arms for his “tolerant” compatriots:

Keep out of our public schools. You already hold sway over a vast number of children and young adults in this country. The University of Iowa alone has over 20 officially recognized religious group on campus and an open forum for discussion. To all of the other tolerant religious or agnostic people out there: We should work together to root out this type of fundamentalist brainwashing that is occurring throughout our country.
So, Mr. Gioielli needs to answer the question: Does he believe Christians have a right to speak, or does he believe Christians need to be rooted out, eliminated from public schools?  It is not possible for one to believe both.  Oh, that pesky law of non-contradiction.
Even absent an answer, it’s pretty clear where this “UI admissions counselor” stands: with the vast majority of public universities and their administrations that maintain and enforce the very unconstitutional policies and practices the ADF Center for Academic Freedom is successfully knocking down across the country.  Toxic ideas like those expressed in Mr. Gioielli’s piece are not to be censored, but they are reason the Alliance Defense Fund has taken up the banner of freedom for college students across America who are asking for nothing more than a restoration of their First Amendment rights.   

Illegal discrimination against Christians on public university campuses is pervasive and must be confronted. The Constitution has something to say about this—and so should you. Speak Up

Congratulations to FIRE and best wishes for the future

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

FIRE celebrates its 10th anniversary tonight in New York City.  David French, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, will be in attendance.  Through the years, FIRE has been a stalwart advocate for the constitutional rights of students, faculty and staff on America’s college and university campuses.  On several occasions ADF has been blessed to team up with FIRE to restore constitutional protections on campus. 

In 2006, as a part of its speech code litigation project, FIRE assisted students at San Francisco State University as they faced a student conduct investigation after holding an anti-terrorism rally on campus.  SFSU administrators used a speech code that applied to every California State University campus to investigate the students for being “uncivil.”  FIRE’s efforts resulted in SFSU dropping the charges.  ADF later filed suit on behalf of these students and secured an injunction against the Cal State speech code.

In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rendered one of the first appellate decisions addressing a university speech codeDeJohn v. Temple University is now the standard bearer for the constitutionality of student harassment policies.  ADF and FIRE collaborated on the DeJohn litigation, and its principles have led to injunctions against similar speech codes in California, Pennsylvania and Washington.

It has been our privilege to partner with FIRE in these and other efforts.  Indeed, some of our own staff have worked for FIRE in the past. 

As all of FIRE’s staff prepare for and enjoy tonight’s celebration, we congratulate them on 10 great years and wish them many more successful years protecting liberty on campus.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

Audio of ASU Students for Life v. Crow arguments at 9th Circuit

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The audio recording of Tuesday’s oral arguments in ASU Students for Life v. Crow can be found here.  ADF Center for Academic Freedom attorney Heather Gebelin Hacker argued on behalf of ASU Students for Life.  A decision is expected in several months.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

University of Wisconsin: Do as we say, not as we do.

Posted on October 21st, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

On Monday, Travis ably deconstructed the University of Wisconsin’s position on what students and society want from higher education.  But it’s important to point out one particular portion of the article in Insider Higher Education by Kevin Reilly, President of the University of Wisconsin System: 

To have more secondary students graduate, and do so better prepared for postsecondary success, colleges and universities will need to redouble longstanding partnerships with the schools. This also includes changing the higher education culture so that we act as a compelling magnet for talent earlier in students’ lives, even if that requires that we cross some well established boundaries that we have grown all too comfortable respecting. Beyond traditional approaches, we need to reach pre-college students directly through their families, computer screens, cell phones, and iPods. We also will need to create thoroughgoing relationships with local community and religious organizations that serve as trusted interlocutors for many first generation and minority Americans and their children.

Oh really?  As Travis points out, the University has repeatedly discriminated against religious students on its campuses.  How could it possibly want to partner with religious organizations when it consistently fails to extend equal rights to Christian students?  Indeed, next week, the University’s lawyers will argue to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that the University would violate the Establishment Clause if it allowed a Catholic student organization at UW-Madison to have the same access to student activity fees that secular student groups receive. 

If President Reilly wants to talk about working with religious organizations to higher education, perhaps he should start by providing the religious student organizations on his campus with the same constitutional rights as any other organization.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

University of Wisconsin's Four Pillars of Insanity

Posted on October 19th, 2009 Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

At Inside Higher Ed, Kevin Reilly outlines his prescription for curing popular frustration with higher education, one that ignores the systemic illness while suggesting no real changes.  His strategy—dubbed the “Four Pillars of Promise”—calls for “better preparation, more graduates, more research, and better dissemination and commercialization.”  So in his mind, the public is frustrated simply because it wants more of what it has been receiving.  This “more of  the same” approach brings to mind Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:  “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

More importantly, Dr. Reilly overlooks the far more fundamental, far more obvious ills of modern academia:  as the wholly-owned subsidiary of the radical left, it blends intellectual repression with moral hedonism.  Whether it is imposing speech codes, kicking religious groups off campus, or adopting ideological litmus tests for certain programs, universities send a clear message to students:  “You can engage in any form of perversion you want as long as you think the way we tell you.” 

As President of the University of Wisconsin System, Dr. Reilly should be especially familiar with these problems.  As its institutions have been sued at least six times, the University of Wisconsin System embodies many of them and is well on its way to winning the ADF Center for Academic Freedom’s “Most Frequent Defendant” award:

  • In 2000, UW-Madison lost the landmark Southworth case where the Supreme Court declared that universities can only charge student activity fees if they allocate those funds in a viewpoint neutral way.
  • In 2005, UW-Eau Claire prohibited RAs from holding Bible studies in their dorm rooms, only to back down in the face of litigation.
  • In 2006, UW-Superior kicked InterVarsity, a Christian ministry, off campus because it wanted to have Christian leaders.  Weeks later, UW-Madison did the same thing to the Roman Catholic Foundation because it allegedly only let Catholics become members and leaders.  Two lawsuits later, both groups returned to campus.
  • Despite Southworth, UW-Madison continues to give funds to groups it favors (e.g., Sex Out Loud, Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group) and to deny funds to groups it disfavors (e.g., Roman Catholic Foundation, Conservatives for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)).  Because it refused to comply with the clear requirements of the First Amendment, it became the target of two still-ongoing lawsuits, one from Roman Catholic Foundation in 2007 and another from CFACT in 2009.


Sadly, Dr. Reilly’s four pillars of insanity fail to address the real sources of frustration toward higher education:  an ivory tower mentality that derides and undermines values that most Americans cherish, silences any dissenting perspectives, engages in indoctrination rather than education, and openly disregards the elementary requirements of the Constitution.


ADF Litigation Staff Counsel ADF Center for Academic Freedom

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